CHICAGO, Ill. - The Rockford University volleyball team began its season on Friday with a pair of tough matches against the University of Chicago and UW-Eau Claire. The Regents entered today knowing they would have to be at the top of their game as both Chicago and Eau Claire won at least 20 matches in 2015. Despite falling 3-0 in each contest, the Regents played well in spurts and showed they can compete with some of the top teams in the area.
Rockford's first match of the season came against the host school, the University of Chicago. The Regents played an excellent first set in which they led for much of the way. Rockford opened the set on fire jumping out to a quick 9-2 lead as the Regents ran off five consecutive points on the serve of Madison Lanquist (Rockford, Ill.). Unfortunately Rockford's lead would evaporate midway through the set as the Maroons scored 8 straight points to pull ahead 13-12. The ladies were not discouraged though, as they continued to fight and regained the lead on multiple occasions including at 17-16. However, the Maroons proved to be too much down the stretch as they went on a 9-1 run to close the set and take a 1-0 lead.
The second and third sets did not go as well as the Regents got off to slow starts and were never able to recover. Rockford fell behind 13-4 in the second set before the Regents began to mount a comeback. Senior Liberty Hartman (Freeport, Ill.) led the charge with a trio of kills as the ladies pulled back to within 5 points at 15-10. Unfortunately they were unable to get any closer dropping the second set 25-16 to fall behind 2-0. The third set followed a similar pattern to the second as the Regents dug themselves an early hole they were never able to get out of allowing the Maroons to take the set 25-8 and the match 3-0.
Individually Rockford had some nice performances against very difficult competition. Sophomore Alex Storey (Dexter, Mich.) led the Regents with a team-high 6 kills and 16 digs. Hartman tallied 5 kills and 5 digs while Lanquist had 10 digs. Senior setter Taylor Rossi (Ingleside, Ill.) notched her first double-double of the season with 12 digs, 10 assists and 2 kills.
The Regents also dropped their second match of the day by an identical 3-0 score to UW-Eau Claire. After a difficult first set in which Rockford fell 25-8, the Regents began to play better in the second and third sets but still came up short 25-12 and 25-18.
The top individual performances came from Storey and Hartman who tied for the team-high with 6 kills each. Storey also added 8 digs and 2 aces while Hartman tallied 3 digs. Freshman August Guest (Lahaina, Hawaii) had her best performance of the season with a team-high 10 digs and 1 kill.
The RU women's volleyball team returns to the court on Saturday, September 3 for its final match at the University of Chicago Gargoyle Classic. The Regents are set to take on Millikin University at 9:00 AM.