The UR women’s volleyball team spent this past weekend competing in four matches at the Vassar College Volleyball Invitational. The other teams participating in the invitational at the school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. included Stevens Institute of Technology, SUNY Fredonia and SUNY New Paltz.

UR ended up fourth out of the five competing teams, but played well and lost many close sets. Stevens Tech, who is currently ranked 25th in Division III according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association, captured the championship with a perfect 4-0 record.

New Paltz finished second at 3-1, followed by Fredonia at 2-2, UR at 1-3 and Vassar at 0-4.

‘Overall, the team competed well this weekend, and all the players on the roster had opportunities to contribute,” head coach Ladi Iya said. ‘It was a competitive tournament and good preparation going into the [University Athletic Association] conference tournament this coming weekend.”

On Friday, the first day of the tournament, UR defeated Vassar quite easily, 25-15, 25-13, 25-17. Sophomore setter Maura Hamilton had 25 assists to help lead her team to the win. Sophomore libero Tayler Schweigel also helped out with 15 digs and five aces.

Senior outside hitter Jessica Rasmussen also contributed to the ‘Jackets’ win against Vassar with eight kills and 16 digs. Helping out, as well, were junior outside hitter Emily Hunter and freshman middle blocker Katie Kao, who had eight and seven kills, respectively.

In UR’s second match of the day on Friday, the ‘Jackets fell to Stevens Tech, losing the first set by only two points, 23-25. UR then let Stevens Tech, who was the invitational’s champion, control the match the final two set scores were 19-25 and 12-25. In the match, Kao and Rasmussen had eight kills apiece. Sophomore outside hitter Allyson Blair had five kills and sophomore right side Rachel Klundt had two service aces.

In another close match on Saturday, the ‘Jackets lost their first set to Fredonia, 18-25, and then went on to play two very close sets, 21-25, 25-27.

Kao had 10 kills and one block against Fredonia, and Schweigel led the UR defense with 21 digs. Sophomore middle hitter Sarah Kauper had seven kills in the match.

In its last match of the tournament, UR did not really gain any momentum against New Paltz and lost, 12-25, 17-25, 20-25. Hamilton had 30 assists, and Schweigel had 26 digs against New Paltz.

‘Against New Paltz, we struggled making adjustments and that cost us the match,” Iya said. ‘However, we still had a good defensive showing with 58 team digs.”

Kao was named to the All-Tournament Team for accruing 33 kills in four matches.

UR is currently 11-23 and heads to the University Athletic Association Championships at Washington University in St. Louis this weekend.

UR is the eighth seed and will face off against No. 1 seed Emory University on Friday. Emory is ranked No. 2 in the nation according to the most recent AVCA poll. Last year, the ‘Jackets placed sixth overall in the UAA championships.

Belonga is a member of the class of 2010.

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