CHICAGO – The third-ranked University of Chicago volleyball squad showed its versatility and avenged a loss to the team that knocked them out of the 2018 NCAA Tournament with Saturday's convincing 3-1 victory over visiting Aurora University.
The Maroons (14-1) won their 13th-straight match despite dropping the first set against the visiting Spartans (11-7), capturing the four-set victory by scores of 23-25, 25-20, 25-21, and 25-23.
Senior Anne Marie Stifter was a big reason why with a season-best 19 kills on 51 attempts (.275) to go along with a match-high 26 digs and four block assists. Sophomore Temilade Adekoya emerged for the Maroons on the offensive, as the usual reserve came off the bench to finish with a career-high 15 kills on 44 swings with just two errors (.295) and added 12 digs.
Adekoya also neatly provided the match-winning kill in the fourth set.
Junior setter Emma Griffith (10 digs) hit the 50-assist mark on the nose, aiding rookie Ellie Alden (11 kills and three block assists) and sophomore Audra Berg (seven kills, three block assists), who added timely kills when needed.
Libero Katherine Wilson was there again for the UChicago defense, totaling 19 digs (but also notable were her three assists and two kills from the back row).
Aurora came out fiery in Set 1. Despite an early 7-1 lead by the Maroons, Aurora came roaring back, as the 2018 NCAA Quarterfinalist outscored the Maroons 14-8 to tie the opener at 15-all. It would stay close until the Spartans broke away from a 22-all tie and capitalized on a set-point service error to take the first game.
UChicago regrouped in Set 2, led by five kills from Alden and four each from Stifter and Adekoya. Stifter and Adekoya again led in the fourth, totaling six put-aways each. In the fourth and final set, UChicago's early 7-3 lead held. Though Aurora made a late comeback to tie it at 18, the Spartans were never able to regain the lead as it was Berg (four kills) who came up with a big kill late to help seal the UChicago win.
The Maroons hit .210 for the match, but hit over .300 (.317 and .318) in the final two sets. Aurora was held to a .171 attack percentage and the Maroons recorded 12 block assists to Aurora's six.
- Sunday, Oct. 6: UChicago at UAA Round Robin #2 (at Atlanta, Ga.)