CHICAGO – The top-seeded University of Chicago volleyball team lived up to its billing with two quick sweeps Friday to advance to Saturday's league title match and set up a meeting between the No. 2 and No. 1-ranked teams in NCAA Division III volleyball.
The No. 2 seed Maroons (26-2) first swept through eighth-seeded Rochester and then turned it on even higher in another convincing sweep – this time over fourth-seeded and No. 19 Carnegie Mellon – to go a perfect 6-0 on the opening day of the 2019 University Athletic Association Championship.
UChicago will face second-seed and No. 1-ranked Emory (28-2), who survived a five-set battle with No. 3-seeded WashU in the semifinal, finally beating the Bears by scores of 21-25, 28-26, 25-22, 17-25, 15-10.
It will make the second time the Maroons will face the Eagles this season – UChicago defeated the then-ranked No. 1 team Oct. 20 by a 3-1 score in the final UAA Round Robin of 2019.
#2 UCHICAGO 3, #19 CARNEGIE MELLON 0 (25-8, 25-17, 25-12)
The Maroons again came out on fire in their second match of the day, as they held the Tartans – ranked 19th in the latest national poll – to just eight points in an opening set where UChicago hit .452 with 14 kills and zero hitting errors.
UChicago would go on to hit .320 for the match and hold CMU (22-6) to just .073, as the Maroons owned the net with 10 block assists and two solo blocks. Rookie Ellie Alden accounted for both solo efforts and added three block assists to go along with her 11 kills (.556) in another stellar match for the first-year.
Senior Madison Pearson added 11 kills (.647) and two block assists and classmate Anne Marie Stifter had eight kills and six digs. Emma Griffith – who started the third set with seven straight serving points to help the Maroons jump out to a 7-0 lead – finished with 27 assists and 11 digs, plus five service aces.
#2 UCHICAGO 3, ROCHESTER 0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-12)
The No. 2-ranked Maroons (25-2) made quick work of their opening opponent in a swift three-set sweep of the eight-seed Yellowjackets.
The Maroons hit .324 in their opening match and then exploded for a .522 attack percentage in the third set to cruise into the day's semifinals.
Junior setter Emma Griffith spread the offense around with her 33 assists, as five Maroons had at least six kills in the shortened match: Ellie Alden with nine, Madison Pearson with eight, Temilade Adekoya with seven, and Anne Marie Stifter and Fredericka Paulson with six apiece.
Alden was near perfect: the rookie hit .800 (nine kills, one error on 10 attempts) and added a block assists. Pearson, who had three block assists, was also efficient with a .583 percentage.
Libero Katherine Wilson led the UChicago defense with 15 digs and Stifter added 10, plus Griffith was dangerous from the serving line, finishing with five aces.
- Saturday, Nov. 9: UAA Finals: (1) UChicago vs. (2) Emory, 1 p.m. CT