Volleyball takes home fourth-place for third year at UAAs

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Xiaoyu Li

Senior libero Rachel Gulasey serves one of her 122 career aces, third in program history. Gulasey also set the career record for digs against Carnegie Mellon, finishing this season with 2239.

Peter Cooke, Sports Editor

Four named to all-conference team, most since 1999

The Case Western Reserve University volleyball team picked up its third straight fourth place finish at the University Athletic Association Championship Tournament at the Woodruff Physical Education Center. The Spartans lost to the host No. 15 University of Chicago, in the third place game in four sets. The Maroons won by scores of 25-15, 25-22, 22-25, and 25-17.

The Spartans finished a successful season with a 24-11 record overall and finished with a solid record in the highly competitive UAA at 5-5. The 24 total victories match the 2010, 2009, and 1998 teams for the third most in school history. The fourth place finish was Case’s third straight.

No. 4 Emory University took home the conference title with a four-set victory over No. 3 Washington University. Chicago finished third over Case, who was fourth. Carnegie Mellon University topped the University of Rochester in the fifth place game. Brandeis University took home seventh place in the tournament after New York University chose not to attend due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The weekend also saw four Spartans named to the All-Association team, tied for the program’s most with the 1999 squad. Senior libero Rachel Gulasey and sophomore middle hitter Natalie Southard earned honors on the second-team All-UAA squad. Senior right side hitter Hanna Collins and freshman outside hitter Carolyn Bogart were named honorable mentions.

In addition to being named to the All-UAA second-team, Gulasey also pushed her way into the record books as she broke the Case school record for digs, finishing with 2239 in her four year career. Gulasey surpassed Andrea Lamont’s (2006-09) record of 2190 during the team’s first match of the weekend against Carnegie Mellon University.

Southard, last year’s UAA Rookie of the Year, earned second year honors after finishing second on the team and ninth in the conference in kills with 298 kills, despite missing six matches due to illness. Southard also finished first on the team and fourth in the conference with 85 blocks.

Collins finished the season on an impressive hot streak, finishing third on the team in kills per set against UAA foes with 1.61 and finished with 2.36 kills per set in her final 10 games. She also led the team with a .352 hitting percentage over that period.

Bogart proved herself as one of the conference’s top rookies as she led the team with 392 kills, fifth in the UAA.

The fourth-seeded Spartans reached the third-place match with Chicago after beating rival fifth-seed Carnegie Mellon (15-17, 3-6) in the opening match of the tournament. The opening match was a bit worrisome for the Spartans, who dropped the first set to the Tartans, 25-19. Case took the next two sets by impressive margins of 25-15 and 25-13. Carnegie Mellon forced a fifth set with a 25-20 win in the fourth. The Spartans were able to round out the match and finish strong with a 15-11 win.

The next match for the Spartans came against No. 4 Emory, the eventual UAA champions. The Spartans gave the Eagles (31-5, 8-1) all they had, but in the end it wasn’t enough as the Eagles took the match in four sets: 25-15, 25-22, 20-25 and 25-14.

The Spartans will graduate six seniors after this season, including Gulasey and Breana Freeman, the program’s leading career setter with 3739 assists. Also departing will be Collins from the attack and defensive specialists Alexandria Drake, Kara Monnin, and Olivia Stanton-Ameisen.