CHICAGO – The University of Chicago volleyball team's postseason run came to an end on Sunday afternoon with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Carthage College in the regional final of the NCAA Division III Championship.
The No. 2-ranked Maroons completed their historic campaign with a 28-4 record. There were numerous first achievements for the program: reaching the third round of the NCAA postseason, posting an .875 winning percentage and earning a No. 1 national ranking during the season.
UChicago and No. 4-ranked Carthage (30-3 record) previously met earlier in the season at the Ratner Athletics Center. The Maroons won that match 3-1 on October 15.
The first set stood tied at 16-16 when the Lady Reds tallied four-straight points to take control. The visitors held multiple set points, starting at 24-20. However, the Maroons remained resilient and reeled off six-straight points to seize the set, 26-24. Junior outside hitter Fredericka Paulson and sophomore outside hitter Temilade Adekoya scored two kills apiece during the comeback.
In the second set, Carthage got back on track and jumped out to a 10-3 lead. UChicago closed to within one point on several occasions. But a 5-0 run allowed the Lady Reds to ultimately even the match up, 25-21. The visiting side stayed hot in the third set, going up 9-1 early en route to a 25-17 victory.
Faced with a 2-1 set deficit, the Maroons came through when it counted in the fourth set. An 11-4 lead was trimmed to 11-9, and soon enough tied up at 13-13. But a strong finish saw UChicago score the final five points of the set to extend the match, 25-21.
It all came down to the fifth set, which see-sawed momentum back and forth. However, Carthage scored the final four points of the match, ending it on a block at 15-12.
Carthage hit .215 on the day while UChicago posted a .202 hitting percentage. Blocks were nearly even at 11-10 for the Maroons. The Lady Reds excelled at the service line with a 15-8 lead in aces.
Paulson smacked a team-high 13 kills, followed by 12 kills each from senior outside hitter Anne Marie Stifter and Pearson. Adekoya posted a double-double of 11 kills and 18 digs. Griffith manufactured 48 assists and 16 digs. Pearson paced the defense with six total blocks, and junior libero Katherine Wilson collected 28 digs.