Volleyball wins 3 out of 4 at UAA tournament

Playing in their second and final UAA round-robin tournament of the season, the women?s volleyball team took three of four from their competition at Washington University in St. Louis. With victories against Brandeis, Case Western, and Rochester, the Tartans upped their conference record to 4?3, putting them in fourth place in the University Athletic Association standings. The team?s final placing wraps up a fourth overall seed in the upcoming UAA championship tournament.
On October 15, the Tartans opened up their second UAA round-robin tournament with a four-game defeat of Brandeis University. Carnegie Mellon initially dropped a game, but the team battled back to win the next three: 27?30, 30?27, 30?12, and 30?14. The Tartans were later swept by Emory University, the third-ranked team in the nation. The match, though, was exceptionally close, as each game was decided in a margin of four points or fewer: 30?26, 30?27, 30?28.
Going into the second day of the tournament, the Tartans stood at 2?3 in the conference standings, and knew that a solid championship seeding would require an outstanding performance on the last day of UAA action. Carnegie Mellon met that challenge, winning both of their final two matches.
The Tartans first took a relatively close match from Case Western University in four games: 30?21, 27?30, 30?27, 30?21. Hours later, the Tartans dominated Rochester in a 30?25, 30?23, 30?19 sweep.
Junior Catie Fisher led the Tartans? tournament attack with 66 kills, and also tallied 35 digs. Junior outside hitter Amanda Bradford and senior middle hitter Chrissy Bartek added 46 kills of their own, and combined for 78 digs. Junior libero Kathryn Fox finished the tournament with 55 digs, and junior setter Brea Carlock recorded 165 assists and 18 digs. Also aiding in the Tartan victories were junior middle hitter Melena Yablinsky (18 kills), junior Alex Gutschick (19 digs), and junior middle hitter Becky Metler (39 kills). In the four matches, the team as a whole registered 28 blocks.
With her stellar performance at the tournament, Fisher was named a UAA Top Performer of the Week.
To go along with her kill and dig totals, Fisher featured an excellent .395 hitting percentage during Carnegie Mellon?s 3?1 UAA stretch.
The results of the two round-robin tournaments determine the seeding for the UAA championships, which take place November 5?6 at Brandeis University. Last year, the Tartans placed fourth in the eight-team bracket.
This year, with the two victories against Case Western and Rochester, CMU finished their 2005 UAA tournaments with a 4?3 conference record. Two weeks ago, in the first round-robin tournament at Case Western Reserve, the Tartans won one game but dropped two. Going 3?1 in the second tournament ultimately pushed Carnegie Mellon to fourth in the UAA standings, and landed the team the fourth overall seed in next weekend?s UAA championship tournament.
After all seven round-robin games, Washington remained undefeated at 7?0, and Case Western winless at 0?7. The only three teams that finished ahead of Carnegie Mellon were Washington, Emory (6?1), and NYU (4?3).
Since their final round-robin match, the Tartans have participated in two tournaments that were not affiliated with the UAA standings. At the Juniata College Tournament (October 21?22), Carnegie dropped its first three matches against some of the top-ranked teams in the nation, including number-two Juniata and number-four NYU. The Tartans then rebounded to win their last match versus Franklin & Marshall in five games.
At the Wittenberg Invitational (October 28?29), CMU lost all four of its matches against highly regarded teams such as Wooster (Ohio), Alma (Mich.), Carthage (Wis.), and Wittenberg.
Despite their slow finish against non-conference opponents, the team ends with a 17?15 winning overall season record. Now, however, all that really matters is its fourth-place finish within UAA play.
Next weekend, the fourth-seeded Tartans will travel to Brandeis University to play their last match of the season in the UAA championships.