By Elana Cates
This past weekend, the Emory women’s volleyball team captured the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship title.
The tournament began Friday, Nov. 7 at Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.). The quarterfinals match against The University of Rochester (N.Y.) resulted in a 3-0 sweep in the Eagles’ favor. Sophomore Jessica Holler led the kills with nine, with junior setter Sydney Miles helping the offense with 27 assists. Senior Kate Bowman ran the defense with 13 digs.
The semifinal game a few hours later resulted in another 3-0 win against the home team, Carnegie Mellon. Emory’s leaders included sophomore right side hitter Sarah Maher with 9 kills, Miles with 33 assists and Bowman with 15 digs. The match concluded 25-16, 25-12, 25-20, improving the Eagles’ record to 33-3, and earning them a spot in the University Athletic Association (UAA) finals.
The Eagles managed to receive a night’s rest before the finals the next morning against the University of Chicago. With a 3-1 win (24-26, 25-15, 25-18, 25-20), Emory raised its overall record to 34-3 on the season. The Eagles demonstrated a strong attack, with senior outside hitter Leah Jacobs, Holler and Maher each showing 13 kills. The Eagles recorded a team attack percentage of .307 (62-11-166), which is the 18th time this season and fifth consecutive time that Emory has had a hitting mark of .300 or higher. On the opposition, Chicago hit .178 (55-22-185). This marks the 35th time this season that the Eagles have out hit their competition.
Emory held a strong defense throughout the match. The team totaled 98 digs, which is the 12th highest match total in the history of the Emory volleyball program. Bowman led the defense with 27 digs, while sophomore defensive specialist Catalina Jimenez posted 19 digs, a career high. Miles contributed 50 assists, the sixth time this season she has recorded that high. In addition, Miles documented 13 digs and four blocks.
“Winning the UAA is a grand accomplishment and means a lot for this team,” sophomore outside hitter Sheridan Rice said. “Not only did we take back the title as UAA Champions, but we did so in a dominant and respectable manner. It shows how our commitment and dedication to this volleyball program during our spring season, over the summer and throughout this current season have paid off.”
The title marks the sixth time Emory has claimed the championship. The Eagles will be going into the NCAA tournament with a nine-match winning streak.
“Going into the NCAAs, we just want to take each match one game at a time and focus on each one by one because you can’t move on until you get through the match you’re on,” Maher said. “So, focusing on the little things, point by point, is going to be important. But we are ready to take on whoever comes our way.”
The Eagles will travel to St. Louis, Mo. to take on Webster College for the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament this Friday.
â€” By Elana Cates, Staff Writer