The volleyball team hosted the Round Robin I tournament over the weekend to kick off University Athletic Association (UAA) conference play. The Eagles went undefeated in the tournament to increase their overall record to 21-2 and UAA conference record to 3-0m and Head Coach Jenny McDowell secured her 600th career win.
Case Western Reserve University (Ohio), University of Rochester (N.Y.), Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) and the Eagles participated in the tournament.
“The team did a really great job this weekend,” McDowell said. “One of our goals is to be the number one seed for our conference tournament and usually you have to be undefeated so we definitely took a step towards that goal.”
Emory got off to a good start in the tournament on Saturday with wins over both Case Western and Rochester. Leading the offensive threat in the match against Case Western, senior outside hitter Leah Jacobs totaled 23 kills. But this was no feat for Jacobs as the senior has finished with 20 plus kills in four of the matches thus far in the season.
Senior middle hitter Cat McGrath and sophomore right side hitter Sarah Maher also added nine attacks each. Junior setter Sydney Miles contributed double digit assists, adding up to 42 in total over the match, while sophomore Sheridan Rice led with 12 digs. Emory edged out Case Western in hits as well, marking .304 over the opponent’s .173 percentage, and finished 3-0 overall in the match.
The Eagles continued their sweeping success later on Saturday in their match against Rochester. Emory again won three out of three sets as they marked a .375 hitting percentage over Rochester’s -.086. This signified the seventh match out of eight that the Eagles hit .300 or above.
Maher led a stellar performance, as she added 13 terminations, hitting a match-high of .550. This marked Maher’s fifth time of the year reaching double digits in match terminations. Jacobs also added double digit kills, finishing with 10 in total. Freshman middle hitter Madeline DeShazer tied Maher in team-leading blocks with five total, while senior libero Kate Bowman led with a match-high of 14 digs.
“The biggest thing is to take every game point-by-point,” Maher said. “Everyone is going to give us their best game so we need to give everyone our best game.”
On Sunday, Oct. 5, the Eagles finished off the tournament snatching a victory over Carnegie Mellon in a tight match. With the win under their belt, the Eagles extended their home win streak to 25 matches.
Emory’s defense largely contributed to the win, holding the Tartans to a mere .096-attack percentage. At first, the offense struggled to produce as they fell behind in the first two sets. However, they later prevailed in the final three sets, trumping over Carnegie Mellon 25-18, 25-16 and 15-4.
Jacobs again led the match in a team-high of 23 kills in total. The senior also added two aces and two block assists. Sophomore Kathryn Trinka followed behind Jacobs contributing a career-high 15 kills, while Maher added 13 kills. Bowman led the match in digs with a total of 22, while Miles helped out with 53 assists.
“Something I think that is special about our team is that we remain confident no matter the situation,” Miles said. “We know that we can always get better, and I think that will help us stay in this for the long run.”
McDowell was impressed by the Eagles’ vigilance, even when they were down.
“I’m super proud of the players and especially how they fought back in the Carnegie Mellon match when we were behind 0-2,” she said.
When asked about her 600th win as the Eagles’ head coach, McDowell modestly credited her players and assistant coaches.
“Honestly it’s credit to all players and assistant coaches that have come through the program,” she said. “It was a celebration of all of them over the years.”
In their next match, Emory will face off against Lee University (Tenn.) on Oct. 8 on the road.
– By Zoe Elfenbein, Contributing Writer