Volleyball primed for a strong UAA finish

With two wins last Saturday at the Waynesburg College Quad Tournament, the Carnegie Mellon women’s volleyball team improved its record to 18–12 heading into the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships. The championships will be held at Carnegie Mellon on Friday and Saturday.

The Tartans defeated Bethany College 30–16, 30–17, and 30–24 in their first match at Waynesburg and followed that up with a 30–19, 30–21, and 30–21 win against Thiel College.

The Tartans, 11–3 in their last 14 matches, benefited from strong play from first-year Jessica Brackin, who led the team with 14 kills against Bethany and added four block assists in the win. Brackin posted a career-high nine total blocks (seven block assists) in the win against Thiel.

Senior outside hitter Amanda Bradford made her presence felt in both games as she collected seven digs against Bethany and 13 digs, 10 kills, and five total blocks versus Thiel. Senior right side Catie Fisher and junior middle hitter Abbie Toney contributed 10 and nine kills, respectively, against Bethany.

Defensively against Bethany, senior libero Kat Fox recorded 15 digs, and the tandem of senior setter Brea Carlock and first-year setter Samantha Carter recorded 26 and 20 assists apiece in the win against Bethany.

“We persisted all the way to the end,” senior defensive specialist/setter Alex Gutschick said. “We were more consistent than we have ever been this weekend.”

Toney added, “The competition wasn’t as tough as we were hoping for. That said, getting a few games in helps us relax and loosen up.”

The Tartans went 3–3 in the regular season against UAA opponents, losing to second-ranked Washington (Mo.) University, number-13-ranked Emory University, and number-15-ranked New York University. Their UAA victories came against University of Rochester, Brandeis University, and Case Western Reserve University.

“Having previously played the teams in the UAA is a double-edged sword,” Toney said. “You can say that it gives us confidence about what we are going up against, but it’s a disadvantage that our competitors know our weaknesses and can expose them.”

The UAA Championships will begin at 9 a.m. Friday in the University Center gym with the championship game to be played at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Skibo Gym.