Volleyball team fights hard at Classic

Janise Dismuke earned a spot on the All-Tournament team at the Chicago Classic.
Photo: Steve Woltmann

The volleyball team defeated DePaul in straight sets (25-22, 25-16, 26-24) Saturday in its second match of the Chicago Classic at Mother McAuley High School on Chicago’s South Side.

They fell in the first match against Oregon State, 3-0, Saturday.

On Sunday, the Flames made No. 2 Penn State work for every point but lost in straight sets (25-17, 25-18, 25-17) at the Chicago Classic.

Senior Aubrey Sniegowski led the Flames (4-6/0-0 Horizon League) with 14 kills as senior Sara Sternard paced the squad with a .533 attacking percentage.

“I’m really proud of our team,” head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley said. “It was great to see them get in a rhythm and play at a high level.”

The Flames found themselves in an early 6-0 hole in the first set, then DePaul quickly stretched the lead to 11-3. UIC ignited an impressive rally to claim the lead at 16-15, taking advantage of several Blue Demon service and attack errors combined with two kills by Sniegowski. The Flames controlled that edge for the rest of the set, winning 25-22.

The second set included nine ties and two lead changes all within the first 18 points.

UIC posted the game’s first two-point lead at 11-9 and held it the rest of the way, including a six-point run at the end of the set. Sniegowski, Sternard and Janise Dismuke led the way with a combined 11 kills to bring the final score to 25-16.

UIC owned much of the third set after back-and-forth scoring early in the match. UIC took the lead but DePaul didn’t go down without a fight, tying the score three times before the Flames came away with a 26-24 triumph.

Against Penn State, UIC held the lead on several occasions in the first two sets, but the Nittany Lions’ size at the net proved to be the difference as they posted 14 team blocks compared with UIC’s six.

Overall, the Flames went 1-2 on the weekend, but didn’t leave the South Side empty-handed as Dismuke was selected to the All-Tournament team. The middle hitter totaled 21 kills and nine blocks in three tourney games.

“I’m really proud of our play,” said Schumacher-Cawley.

“We never stopped competing. We have to continue to get better and get ready for conference season.”

UIC returns to action at noon Friday as they travel to Memphis, Tenn., to play the Tigers in the first game of a four-team tournament, including Louisiana-Lafayette and Belmont.

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