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University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation

Maroons volleyball beats Alma and loses to Elmhurst on Senior Night

Nikki DelZenero, Katie Huntington, Maggie Vaughn and Morgan Clark
Nikki DelZenero, Katie Huntington, Maggie Vaughn and Morgan Clark

CHICAGO, Ill. -- The University of Chicago volleyball team celebrated Senior Night with a 3-0 win over Alma College and a 3-0 loss to Elmhurst College on Friday. The No. 18-ranked Maroons moved their record to 20-9 on the season.

The four UChicago seniors - outside hitter Morgan Clark, setter Nikki DelZenero, right side hitter Katie Huntington and middle blocker Maggie Vaughn - were recognized before the nightcap match. The seniors own the second-best record by a class in school history with an overall mark of 109-39 (.736 winning percentage).

The evening also served as Morgan Buerkett Memorial Night. Buerkett was a rising second-year UChicago volleyball player who died in a private plane crash alongside her parents Jon and Dana on July 24, 2011.

UChicago faced off with Alma (12-13) in the afternoon. The Maroons held the early advantage and kept it for the whole first set. A 9-1 run gave UChicago a 17-8 lead. However, Alma stormed back within striking distance thanks to good serves and several UChicago miscues on defense. The Maroons recovered in time to take the set 25-22.

The hosts picked up steam as the second set went on. A 6-5 lead ballooned to 19-11, with the middles contributing good blocking and offensive swings. UChicago ended up taking the second set by a 25-15 score.

Alma kept hanging close in the third set and briefly grabbed the lead at 6-5. The two sides went back and forth and were tied at 20-20. The Maroons then closed out the match with a 25-22 win.

UChicago finished with a .254 hitting percentage versus a .114 hitting percentage for Alma. The Maroons also led in blocks 6-3.

Stat Leaders
Maggie Vaughn
(Middle Blocker, Sr.) - 12 kills on 21 attempts, 5 blocks
Maren Loe
(Outside Hitter, So.) - 11 kills, 9 digs, 2 blocks
Katie Huntington (Rightside Hitter, Sr.) - 6 kills, 2 blocks
Nikki DelZenero (Setter, Sr.) - 39 assists, 9 digs, 3 kills
Eirene Kim (Libero, Jr.) - 26 digs, 4 assists
Ragine Graves (Setter, So.) - 11 digs, 2 aces

The evening match pitted UChicago against No. 5-ranked Elmhurst (27-4). The Maroons possessed the early momentum to take a 9-5 lead, and the Bluejays answered right back to tie the score at 11-11. The home team struggled to score against Elmhurst's blockers and a 7-1 run midway through the first set gave the visitors a 22-17 lead. UChicago almost rallied all the way back, but fell just short 25-23.

After trailing 4-1 at the start of the second set, the Maroons started clicking and took an 8-5 lead. From that point on, it was all Bluejays. The visitors closed the set on a 20-5 run that featured well-placed attacks that took UChicago out of its rhythm. The 25-13 second set gave Elmhurst a 2-0 lead.

The third set played out evenly with ties at 12-12 and 16-16. Elmhurst began to slowly pull away towards the end and won the match 25-22.

The Bluejays registered a .205 hitting percentage with six blocks over the course of the match. The Maroons were held to a .108 hitting percentage.

Stat Leaders
Katie Huntington
(Rightside Hitter, Sr.) - 11 kills
Nikki DelZenero (Setter, Sr.) - 19 assists, 12 digs, 3 kills
Eirene Kim (Libero, Jr.) - 15 digs, 6 assists
Ragine Graves (Setter, So.) - 15 digs
Erin Risk (Setter/Rightside Hitter, Fr.) - 11 digs, 3 aces