Following a disappointing seventh place finish on Saturday at the University Athletic Association tournament at New York University, the women’s volleyball team gained a third-seed bid to the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Upstate New York Championships this weekend.

The Yellowjackets’ lone win came on Friday night against University of Chicago. UR came back from two games down to beat Chicago 23-30, 30-32, 30-23, 30-25, 15-12.

Junior co-captain and setter Liz Loveless and senior Stephanie Bristol each posted career highs – Loveless had 64 assists and Bristol finished with 38 digs. Freshman setter Samantha Carr had 34 digs, junior middle back Kristin Vogt had 19 kills and three blocks and freshman outside hitter Susan Johnson added 28 kills.

Going into the tournament, the Yellowjackets had hoped to beat both Chicago and Brandeis. Both matches went to five games and the results were split.

“Our goal for the weekend was to win two matches and stay in the other two,” Head Coach Linda Downey said. “We rebounded against Chicago after a three game defeat earlier in the season and beat them in five.”

UR did not have such luck against Brandeis University on Saturday. “Against Brandeis, who we had beaten in a close five game match earlier, we lost going to five games again,” Downey said. “We are very evenly matched.”

The Yellowjackets lost to Brandeis 29-31, 31-29, 30-18, 27-30, 10-15. UR built a 2-1 lead before dropping the match. Sophomore outside hitter and middle back Haley Massa posted 16 kills and 32 digs, Johnson contributed 27 kills, sophomore middle back Kate Czarniak had 10 kills, Bristol had 30 digs and Loveless had 48 assists.

Earlier in the tournament, UR ran into some tough competition and were swept by both Carnegie-Mellon University and Washington University in St. Louis on Friday. “The conference is so tough, with three nationally-ranked teams out of the eight it is a struggle to just get a game,” Downey said.

Washington won 31-29, 30-19, 30-17. Vogt and Johnson each finished with nine kills. Loveless had 19 digs and 26 assists.

Carnegie Mellon swept the Yellowjackets 30-15, 30-20, 30-24. Loveless anchored the offense with 27 assists. Vogt had 10 kills, Bristol had 11 digs and Johnson added 12 kills and 10 digs.

UR will compete at the ECAC championships this weekend at Rochester Institute of Technology. They take a 23-16 record into the playoffs.

UR is seeded third in a six-team field and are scheduled to take on sixth-seeded St. John Fisher College on Friday night at 8 p.m.

If the Yellowjackets win their match up against Fisher, they will move on to play second-seeded Ithaca College at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Downey hopes to take the lessons learned at UAAs into this weekend’s ECAC action. “The players love the competition and it really helps when we play locally, having had the experience in the UAA,” she said.

This weekend marks the Yellowjackets’ first post-season run in six years. “We need to focus this weekend so we finish the year strong,” Downey said. “Everyone will feel the same and the six teams involved are all capable of winning the tournament.”

Taylor can be reached at ktaylor@campustimes.org.



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