Illinois-Chicago on tap Tuesday for volleyball

Last year’s 3-2 loss to the University of Illinois-Chicago changed the volleyball team’s season.

After the defeat, the Chippewas won 11 of their next 13 matches.

Now the team, which lost by two points in the fifth set last year, will look to avenge the loss 8 p.m. EDT. on Tuesday in Chicago.

“Coach has been giving us some time to rest our legs, which I think will be beneficial,” said sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn Schultz. “I think we are going to perform really well. We have been really clicking lately.”

The team went 2-1 two weeks ago in Green Bay, improving its record to 3-3.

“The first tournament, we were a little nervous, maybe a little unsure of what to do,” Schultz said. “The second one was much better. Our serves have looked much more aggressive, and we just started communicating better.”

Schultz is one of three middle blockers in the top four for kills on the team. Freshman Danielle Gotham and senior Kaitlyn Hurt combine with Schultz for 136 of the team’s 255 kills. The three also combine for 44 total blocks, led by Gotham.

The only player with more kills than the middle blockers is junior outside hitter Lauren Krupsky. She said intense play is key for the team so far.

“Our intensity level has been really good,” Krupsky said. “Sometimes, freshmen can come out a little timid. Our freshmen haven’t been.”

The team will end a 10-day layoff. Its last match was a 3-0 victory over South Dakota State on Sept. 5 in Wisconsin.

“We have had some time to heal and some time to train, Olson said. “We have been looking at what we need to get better at, and when we get it going there is a really exciting aspect of the team.”

UIC is coming off a loss to No. 18 Michigan State. The 3-1 loss leaves the team with a 4-7 record.

After Tuesday’s match, CMU will travel to Texas for a weekend tournament. Then the team begins conference play.

“We are just cleaning up the little things,” Krupsky said. “If we can just execute those finer points, we are going to be unstoppable.”