(WALTHAM, Mass.) - The Carnegie Mellon University volleyball team won its 12th straight match and opened University Athletic Association (UAA) play with a 3-0 record after topping 7th-ranked Emory University, 3-1, on Sunday, September 30. The Tartans recorded 15 service aces and are now 14-5 overall while Emory moves to 10-4 with a 2-1 mark in UAA play.
The Tartans opened with a 25-20 first set win behind 15 kills and a hitting percentage of .270. Freshman Carrie Stewart (Victor, N.Y. / Victor) hit down five of those kills. The Tartans recorded five of their points off service aces in the set with both junior Maia So-Holloway (Oakland, Calif. / Sacred Heart Cathedral) and junior Erika Foose (Allentown, Pa. / Parkland) serving up two.
The second set started in the Tartans' favor as they went up 5-2 behind two kills and a service ace. Later in the set, the Tartans earned four straight points with three coming off kills, as they led 15-8. The Tartans held at least a four-point lead the rest of the set before a kill by senior Lauren Mueller (Downingtown, Pa. / Downingtown STEM Academy) finished it off at 25-20.
A back-and-forth third set went in Emory's favor as the Eagles stayed alive with a 25-22 win. A string of points came off the serve of sophomore Julia Kim (Centreville, Va. / Chantilly) in the third set in which she accounted for three via service aces. Her last ace made it 10-5 Tartans. Once the Eagles tied it at 15-15 with their own service ace, the set was evenly played with the Tartans rallying from a three-point deficit to take a 22-21 lead before the Eagles recorded the final points of the set for a 25-22 win.
Another 15 kills led the way for the Tartans in the fourth and final set, which they won 25-21. Foose put down six of her match-high 16 kills in the final set, as she hit .519 for the match. The Tartans also registered five service aces for the set with senior Sydney Bauer (Allen, Texas / Allen) collecting three during a six-point run while she served.
Following Foose's 16 kills was Mueller with 13 and Stewart with 11. So-Holloway picked up 48 assists to go with four services aces and a match-point block assist. Junior Kayla Yew (San Francisco, Calif. / Sacred Heart Cathedral) led with 19 digs while Mueller had 15 and Kim 10. Junior Sahara Aqui (Miramar, Fla. / Archbishop McCarthy) had three block assists and put down six kills up front for the Tartans.
The Tartans pause from action until the second UAA round robin comes to Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 13. They'll open the weekend at 12:30 p.m. against eighth-ranked Washington University in St. Louis.
Quoting head coach Kim Kelly
On overall match by team:
The team came out ready to play. They showed poise and resilience throughout the whole match.
On Carrie Stewart's performance against a top tier opponent:
Carrie came through with some big kills when we needed them. She was very steady throughout the day.
On weekend and what it means going forward:
It was a good weekend. We still have work to do but overall we have set ourselves up for a very good run in the UAA.
On play of middles (Foose/Aqui) today:
Sahara and Erika were key to our win. They got good kills and blocked very well today. They drew people away from our pin hitters which helped open up our offense today.
On what worked well:
Everyone played in sync with one another. Nothing rattled them. They stayed steady throughout the match and came away with a really nice win today.
Quoting senior Sarah Jurgens
On team's performance today against Emory:
I think our team really stepped it up against Emory today. Our defense and serve receive were phenomenal, and our serving put them out of system so they weren't able to run their offense. And Erika and Carrie really stepped it up in the front row! But at the end of the day, Emory was just another good team, and we won by playing our game.
On team's composure during first UAA weekend:
I think we held our composure pretty well throughout this first UAA weekend. I don't think we were expecting to have to play as hard as we did against NYU, but we collected ourselves and were able to get the job done. Today against Emory we came out very strong.
On what led to this weekend's succes:
This past week, we worked a lot on siding out early and not letting the other team go on runs. I think this helped us a lot this weekend. Minimizing runs allowed us to remain consistently ahead through most of the sets we played. At no point this weekend were we losing by a significant amount.