CHICAGO – In a stellar atmosphere at the Gerald Ratner Atheltics Center, the host University of Chicago volleyball team pulled off the upset to defeat #11 Illinois Wesleyan Tuesday night in a nonleague thriller.
The Maroons kept their perfect record intact, improving to 9-0 overall with the 25-21, 21-25, 25-15, 25-23 victory over the Titans (5-3), which also avenged a three-set loss that knocked UChicago out of the 2017 NCAA Division III Tournament.
Senior outside hitter Audrey Scrafford was on fire for the Maroon offense, totaling 22 kills and just three errors for a .328 percentage and teammates Anabella Pinton (13 kills) and Sarah Muisenga (10 kills) joined her in double-digit numbers.
Directing UChicago's solid offense – which hit .266 for the evening – was sophomore setter Emma Griffith, who recorded 53 assists and added 18 digs. Four Maroons recorded double-digit numbers for the defense, as Musienga (22 digs), Temilade Adekoya (18 digs) and Katherine Wilson (16 digs) rounded out UChicago's leaders.
With the support of many members of the Maroon fall sports teams behind them, the Maroons opened the match with a 25-21 Set 1 victory. Scrafford would total seven kills in that first set, and a stellar hustle play by Anne Marie Stifter turned the tide late.
With UChicago leading, 22-19, what seemed to be a kill for the visitors was turned the other way by Stifter, who saved the ball with a deft free ball that instead scored the 23rd point for the Maroons.
IWU didn't go down easily. The Titans, despite seven more kills from Scrafford in Set 2, came back to take an identical 25-21 win to even the match at one-all.
The third set, however, was all UChicago. The host Maroons dominated up front with a .324 attack percentage and benefited from six IWU hitting errors, forcing the Titans to shuffle their lineup late. In the fourth and final game, Scrafford and Pinton provided clutch kills down the stretch and it was Madison Pearson with the winning point in the middle, as the junior blocked an IWU attack to give the match to UChicago.
Pearson added two solo blocks and Muisenga and first-year Audra Berg had two block assists each for UChicago.
Leading the way for the Titans was Tyler Brown (16 kills, 28 digs), Jessica McCall (16 kills), Leah Seielstad with 30 assists and Bev Ryan had three block assists in the setback.
- Friday-Saturday, Sept. 14-15: UChicago at Carthage Tournament (four matches)