(ATLANTA, Ga.) – The ninth-ranked Carnegie Mellon University women's volleyball team topped Brandeis University, 3-2, in the opening round of the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship on Friday afternoon. The Tartans are the number one seed for the tournament which is being hosted by Emory University.
The Tartans (28-3) fell behind a set when the Judges (15-12) won set one by a 25-21 score. In a back-and-forth second set, the Tartans prevailed 30-28 after three straight kills to end the match, with the first two coming from sophomore Sahara Aqui (Miramar, Fla./Archbishop McCarthy) and the set winner off the hands of junior Lauren Mueller (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown STEM Academy), who had five kills in the set.
The Tartans jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the third set before extending the lead to 16-8. Freshman Julia Kim (Centreville, Va./Chantilly) served three straight points, starting with an ace, to give the Tartans their largest advantage of the set. The Tartans would later lead by eight three more times before the final set score of 25-17 was in their favor.
After the Tartans fell 26-24 in set four, they moved a 6-6 score in the fifth set to a 9-6 advantage before winning 15-8, with the final three points earned on kills by senior Eliza Donohue (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield), sophomore Maia So-Holloway (Oakland, Calif./Sacred Heart Cathedral), and Donohue with the match point.
The Tartans hit their best in the fifth set with 11 kills and zero errors on 25 attempts. Mueller finished with a match-high 20 kills, as Donohue and junior Sarah Jurgens (Eagan, Minn./Eagan) each tallied 14. Donohue finished the match with zero errors and a hitting percentage of .438. So-Holloway put down six kills in 12 attempts with zero errors along with 48 assists and 24 digs for the match.
Sophomore Kayla Yew (San Francisco, Calif./Sacred Heart Cathedral) collected a career-best 41 digs with seven assists while Aqui led with five block assists.
The Tartans will now face the winner of seventh-ranked Emory University and Case Western Reserve University at 4:00 p.m. for the chance to advance to the championship match on Saturday afternoon.