Last weekend, the ‘Jackets wrapped up the volleyball season at the University Athletic Association Championships at Washington University in St. Louis. UR faced off against a tough lineup. On Friday, the ‘Jackets went up against Emory University ranked No. 1 in the American Volleyball Coaches Associations poll and the University of Chicago. The following day, UR matched up against Brandeis University and then New York University in a battle for seventh in the conference. The Yellowjackets came up short in all four matches.
In the match against Emory, the ‘Jackets were swept 25-15, 25-10, 25-14. Emory kept UR out of the game and limited the Yellowjackets’ offensive productivity. Junior outside hitter Emily Hunter led the team with just four kills.
Later that afternoon, the ‘Jackets faced the Maroons of Chicago in a competitive match. Chicago was able to take the victory, 25-21, 25-13, 25-20. UR played hard with aggressive serving and attacks but was unable to sustain momentum.
Freshman middle blocker Katie Kao led UR with seven kills and senior outside hitter Jessica Rasmussen and sophomore middle hitter Sarah Kauper had six kills apiece.
The next morning, the ‘Jackets attempted to erase Friday’s scores in their match against Brandeis. UR continued to play hard, with Kao leading the team with 10 kills and sophomore defensive specialist Katie Drinkwater adding four service aces.
On the defensive end, sophomore libero Tayler Schweigel held down the fort with 31 digs, and Rasmussen added 15 digs of her own. Brandeis was able to win the first two games, but UR put up a fight in a see-saw battle for the final point of game three. Brandeis managed to gain the upperhand, defeating the ‘Jackets, 25-15, 25-18, 29-27.
UR then faced NYU in its final match of the season, playing for seventh. The ‘Jackets were inconsistent and unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities, and NYU bested UR, 25-20, 25-17, 25-14.
‘We made a lot of errors this weekend,” head coach Ladi Iya said. ‘It seemed like when we struggled, it was not just one individual, it was the group as a whole. We played very well at times, but it just wasn’t consistent enough to take a match.”
The ‘Jackets finished the season 10-20 with a 3-3 record at home, 3-6 on the road and 4-11 on neutral courts. Though the season was a rough up-and-down experience, there were several noteworthy players and key performances.
‘Jess Rasmussen has been one of our most consistent performers this season, both offensively and defensively,” Iya said. ‘Our sophomore libero Tayler Schweigel has been solid in serve reception and is currently ranked No. 1 in our conference in digs per game. Our freshman middle Katie Kao has been our most efficient attacker all year and makes very few mistakes.”
Rasmussen played the most games, 110, and finished with 367 digs, 110 kills and 30 service aces. Schweigel led the team and conference with 572 digs. Kao, the second-most-active player, played 109 games and finished with 61 blocks and 130 kills.
Despite this season’s outcome, Iya remains optimistic for the future season.
‘Our long-term goals will remain the same as it’s still what we want to achieve as a program finish top-four in the conference, win the conference tournament and make the NCAA tournament,” Iya said. ‘In order to achieve those goals, though, we have a lot of work to improve upon individually. By working on our personal goals this spring, we can take strides toward our greater goal.”
Nathaniel is a member of the class of 2011.