River Forest, IL – The Maranatha women’s volleyball team came up short in both matches Saturday afternoon at the Concordia-Chicago Invitational Tournament against two quality opponents: Concordia University of Chicago and North Park University.
Pitted first against the Cougars of the University of Concordia-Chicago, Maranatha held even in the first set, with each team gaining eight points apiece. The Cougars then surged to take a 17-12 lead, only to warrant an 18-17 comeback spurred by senior middle-blocker Lauren Schulz (Lake Mills, WI.). The Crusaders would battle hard to the end, but lose the first set 25-22.
In the second set, the Cougars went on a 10-2 run to take an early lead of 11-5, and the Crusaders could never fight back, eventually losing 25-21.
In the third, Concordia again jumped out to the early lead of 5-0, but the Crusaders were able to rally back to 10-8, trailing close behind by two or three points for most of the game. Down just one late in the game, the Crusaders couldn’t quite hold on as the Cougars scored three straight points to finish the sweep at 25-21.
In their second match of the day against the Vikings of North Park University, the Maranatha ladies surged out of the gate with a 25-22 victory in the first set, and a 25-18 victory in the second set. Leading the Crusaders were first-year hitters Alison Renz (Lake Mills, WI.) with 9 kills, and Stacie Ross (Wyoming, MI.) with 7 kills in the match.
The resilient Vikings players fought back, however, winning the next two sets 25-20 and 26-24. Led by senior outside hitter Shelby Switzer (Phoenix, AR.) with 23 kills, North Park scored in runs surmounting up to eight points to even the match at two games apiece.
In the fifth set, Maranatha jumped out to the quick 5-2 lead thanks to four service and hitting errors by the Vikings. North Park fixed their mistakes quickly, however, going on a 9-0 run to take the lead at 11-5. A few more service errors by the Vikings were not enough for the Crusaders, however, as North Park easily won the fifth match 15-8.
Coach DeLozier stated after the game, “We had a very balanced attack with big blocks throughout the weekend that kept us in some tough games. There were a record number of blocks in our game against North Park, a team that had many quality attackers.”
Maranatha finished with 13 blocks total against North Park, with eight block assists coming from freshman Renz. First year hitter Stacie Ross also finished with seven block assists.
Making the All-Tournament team for the weekend invitational was senior hitter Lauren Schulz, who finished with 12 kills and 6 blocks over the two games.
Maranatha drops to 8-6 overall on the season, with an upcoming match in Aurora, IL. at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24th.