Chicago advances for first time
Maroon wins first tournament game in 40-year history
ST. LOUIS -- Chicago won its first NCAA tournament game in its 40-year history, beating Wisconsin-Whitewater, which was playing in its 20th consecutive tournament, 3-1 (25-22, 23-25, 25-14, 25-16) on Friday in a first-round matchup.
In the first set, Chicago led 6-3, after scoring three of the next four extended its lead to 9-4. At 12-7 Whitewater scored the next three points to pull within 12-10. Chicago increased the lead back to six, 23-17 which Whitewater followed with a four-point run to close to 23-21 before losing 25-22.
Set two was all about a comeback. The first part of the set went back and forth with the teams trading points. No team led by more than one point for the first 20 points scored. However, with the score knotted at 10-10, UC went on a 7-0 run. Once again faced with adversity, the Warhawks refused to give in. Back-to-back aces from Alyssa Bauer provided a spark for UW-W and forced a Maroon timeout with the Warhawks having narrowed the gap to three, 21-18. Three kills from Sofia Sanchez, an ace by Kelli Trautmann and a couple of Chicago errors were all Whitewater needed to even the match 1-1.
Chicago jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead in set three. At 10-3 Chicago went on a 5-0 run to lead 15-3. UC extended its lead to 23-9, never allowing Whitewater within single digits the rest of the way. The Maroons took the 2-1 advantage in the match with a 25-14 third set win.
The Warhawks found themselves down 6-1 again in the fourth set that followed a path eerily similar to set three. A kill by Ariel Johnston got the Warhawks within three at 9-6. The Maroons eventually built an 11-point margin, the last two coming on back-to-back aces by Alexandria Meyers. A late set surge wasn't enough to make up the deficit as Chicago took set four 25-16 and the match 3-1.
Senior outside hitter Sofia Sanchez led the Warhawks with 14 kills. Freshman Ariel Feiertag hit .385, and freshman Kim Frei and sophomore Heidi Buss split time at the setter position dishing out 16 and 22 assists respectively. Freshman libero Kelsey Nobilio had 12 digs in the match to top UW-W and Bauer added four service aces. UW-W hit .144 and Chicago was at .258.
Bauer closed her UW-W career second in the school record book with 2,338 career digs. Fellow senior Kelli Trautmann had 1,120 career digs for 14th place on the list. And Sanchez, another senior, wrote her name in the books too, ninth in career kills with 1,251.
Chicago was led in kills by sophomore Morgan Clark and senior Colleen Belak with 11. Junior Katie Trela hit .444, and sophomore setter Nikki Del Zenero dished out 41 assists. Belak and junior libero Samantha Brown contributed 10 digs apiece.
Whitewater, which shared the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and won the league's postseason tournament, ends the 2011 season with an overall record of 26-8.