The season ended on a high note April 8 and 9 for the women’s volleyball team at the University Athletic Association Championships. The women, entered ranked eighth out of eight teams, won the consolation bracket and finished fifth by sweeping the University of Chicago, 3-0, in the semifinals and topping Brandeis University, 3-1, in the final match.

“We are really happy that we came out fifth,” freshman Blair Nonaka said.

“For us, it is like being the second best. We beat the teams we were supposed to beat,” she said.

The tournament started off with the Yellowjackets losing three games in pool play Friday against Washington University in St. Louis, New York University and Brandeis.

UR was swept by first-ranked and undefeated Washington and fourth-ranked NYU. Washington beat UR in three sets, 30-9, 30-17 and 30-23 and NYU won easily 30-9, 30-13 and 30-26.

“We were just trying to play with them,” Nonaka said. “I’m happy we were able to do that.”

UR also lost a disappointing match Friday to fifth ranked Brandeis 30-22, 27-30, 30-17 and 30-20.

The Yellowjackets found redemption Saturday in the consolation bracket with dominating performances against Chicago and Brandeis. UR upset Chicago 30-26, 30-25 and 31-29 with junior Melissa Arms, sophomores Liz Loveless, Kristin Vogt and Nonaka leading the way.

The wins were the team’s first UAA victories this season. Vogt had 13 kills and Nonaka had 11 kills in the match, with Loveless providing 31 assists. Arms and Loveless were strong defensively with 14 and 10 digs respectively.

The win paved the way for a rematch against Brandeis and the Yellowjackets were up to the challenge, winning 30-26, 31-29, 21-30 and 32-30.

Nonaka and Vogt led the way in kills again, with 15 and 11, Loveless added 37 assists and Arms and Loveless tied in digs with the game lead in digs at 15. UR finished the season 16-23, with a winning record (14-13) against non-UAA teams.

The performance was a dramatic improvement from past years, with their 16 wins matching the total wins from the previous two years.

“In comparison to last year this is a huge turnaround for us,” Nonaka said. “We are only going to get better because we’re so young.” The team, consisting of one junior, five sophomores and six freshmen, will look to build upon their successes next year.

Hildebrandt can be reached at

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