Young voters take the polls by storm

By Doug Greenberg
Medill Reports

CHICAGO — One of the most important questions ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections was whether young people would shed their historic apathy about electoral politics and show up to vote.

The early answer: Young people did their part. In fact, they came out in droves.

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UIC women’s volleyball players talk about winning rituals

By Kristen Keller
Medill Reports

Many sports teams and players pride themselves on their pregame superstitions and rituals.  Whether it’s doing a dance or packing together before a game, every team has their “thing.”

Players often feel that if the don’t do their “thing” before competing in a match, they could jinx the game. For that reason, they have their superstitions.

Watch the UIC women’s volleyball team before a game. Did their tradition before each match help them get to the Horizon League Conference’s women’s volleyball tournament this weekend?

Before the broadcaster announces the lineup, the Flames huddle in the corner of the gym, chanting “UIC, UIC” multiple times before the starters run to the end line to shake the opposing team’s hands.

The players have their own way of preparing. Some listen to the same song on repeat while others eat the same meal before each match.

Regardless of the person, the starters of the UIC women’s volleyball team each have unique superstitions that they follow before competing in a game.

One of those players is outside hitter Kiera James, who leads the team in kills with 325 for the regular season. The redshirt freshman listens to music before stepping out on the court. Not only that, but she relies on certain equipment she must wear, too.

Middle blocker Tatyana Ndekwe sets up the block for UIC as she dominates the stat sheet with 106 blocks. Just like James, the junior has her own methods of preparing for games and getting herself in the mindset to do her job once she steps on the court.

Libero Manuella Conte controls UIC’s backrow defense, registering 475 digs during the regular season.  The redshirt sophomore has to listen to her music, but also has to make sure she does one other thing before starting a match, she said.

As the Flames prepare to take on Milwaukee in the quarterfinal round of the Horizon League championship Friday, they spent hours of practice getting the game plan together. Now that the day is almost here, it will come down to talent, and maybe a little bit of superstition, to get them through to the next round of the tournament.

Photo at top: UIC women’s volleyball talks about their pregame rituals that must take place before a game. (Kristen Keller/Medill)

James, Witt lead UIC to win over Milwaukee

By Kristen Keller
Medill Reports

The UIC women’s volleyball team swept Milwaukee during their final match in the Flames Athletic Center Thursday. It took only three sets for the Flames to secure the win, with two UIC players finishing with double-digit kills.

“The win, the loss, that’s going to be a result of everything we put in during the game, but that of course is a reflection of practice,” said head coach Justin Ingram. “I think we had a decent week of practice and I think we are building from that.”

Milwaukee began the first set with the serve, but it wasn’t long before UIC libero Manuella Conte took the ball. During her first serving run of the match, she went on a five-point serving run from the help of teammates Kiera James and Ali Witt.

James recorded three kills during Conte’s run, while Witt also registered three kills during the first eight points of the set.

From there, the Flames and the Panthers exchanged points throughout the set, with UIC keeping a four-point lead. Not until Milwaukee’s Rylie Vaughn started serving did the Panthers bring themselves back into the set.

With a four-point serving run and three kills from Kleja Cerniauskaite, the Panthers tie up the match at 17 points each. From there, the Flames were watching Milwaukee slowly pull away until outside hitter Paola Santiago contributed a kill for UIC.

The Flames tied the game at 21 with Conte back at the service line. UIC continued to push Milwaukee during the remainder of the set. With the help of three kills from Witt and an overall hitting percentage of .778, the Flames closed out the first set of the match 25-23.

During the second set, middle blocker Michelle Glover subbed into the match and made an immediate impact for the Flames.

Coming off the first serve from UIC’s Emily Kelly, Glover found herself with two kills and a block during the first six points of the match. The Flames were up 5-1.

UIC did not let up. They continued to keep at least a three-point lead throughout the match with the help of a strong service effort from the Flames and multiple errors from the Panthers.

The closest Milwaukee got to taking over the second set was at 22-20 when the Flames still held the lead, but it didn’t last long for the Panthers.

With two kills from Glover and an ace from defensive specialist Velina Minkova, UIC concluded the second set 25-20.

At the start of the third set, the Panthers had the served up the first two points. Then Glover recorded another kill on the match, which resulted in service runs from both Conte and freshman Marija Borcic.

Following those runs, the Flames would side out immediately after the Panthers’ serve, keeping a multiple-point lead throughout the entire match.

By the end of the match, UIC kept the momentum. They finished the third set with a score of 25-13. With this win, the Flames swept the Panthers three sets to none, helping to keep them in fourth place in the Horizon League rankings.

James led the match for the Flames with 13 kills, but Witt was right behind her. She finished the match with 12 kills, which is one less than her season high, and she also added five blocks.

Conte led the defensive efforts with 17 digs while Borcic finished the match with 41 assists.“I think going into the match, we wanted to play with confidence and have fun, especially out last time playing on our home court,” Witt said. “I think that was the main aspect, and the kills just kind of came with the confidence.”

UIC played Green Bay on Saturday, losing to them two sets to three in Green Bay. The Flames will open up the Horizon League tournament this Friday against Milwaukee. Green Bay will host the tournament from Friday to Sunday, with the winner of the tournament getting an automatic bid into the NCAA volleyball tournament.

“We’re hopeful, of course, that we can piece it together at this time of the year,” Ingram said. “We want to build from this going into the conference tournament.”

Photo at top: Kiera James and Ali Witt led the Flames to a 3-0 sweep over Milwaukee Nov. 8. (Kristen Keller/Medill)

Hot coffee delivers more antioxidant benefits than cold brew, research finds

by Colleen Zewe
Medill Reports

As the weather gets colder, caffeine-lovers often switch from cold brew to hot coffee. This switch packs more benefits than just warming you up. New research shows that hot coffee contains more antioxidants than cold.

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Chicago activists rally in Refuse Fascism march

By Katie Rice
Medill Reports

Approximately 50 people gathered in Federal Plaza Saturday afternoon to rally with activist group Refuse Fascism’s Chicago chapter in protest of Trump administration policies. During “In the Name of Humanity, Trump/Pence Must Go!” the group denounced the administration and urged people to speak out against what they see as the development of fascism in America.

After the rally, protesters marched to Trump Tower and gathered across the river from the building, carrying signs with slogans such as “This Nightmare Must End.”

Refuse Fascism groups marched in other cities Saturday including Cleveland, New York and San Francisco.

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Author Linda Kay Klein’s new book challenges ‘purity movement’

By AnnMarie Hilton
Medill Reports

Linda Kay Klein, author of the new book “Pure” challenges the  shame-laced purity movement found among many Evangelicals. She spoke from personal experience at an author conversation last week at Women and Children First book store.

“We learned together that there are two types of girls: those who are pure and those who are impure,” Klein read aloud from her book. “Those who are marriage material and those who are lucky if any good Christian man ever loved them.” Continue reading

Indiana, Michigan Win Big Ten Tournament Final Berths

By Nicholas Hennion
Medill Reports

The Indiana Hoosiers and Michigan Wolverines will battle for Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament title after dispatching Maryland and Wisconsin, respectively, in the semifinals on Friday.

Indiana, the number one seed, tied Friday’s early game 1-1 in regular time, advancing 4-3 on penalty kicks. In the other semifinal, an early penalty kick for Michigan proved to be the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory.

The Hoosiers and Wolverines last played on October 7, with Indiana winning a crucial road game 1-0 on a Rece Buckmaster goal.

But Friday, it was Buckmaster’s defensive counterpart, senior Andrew Gutman, who stole the show. Gutman scored Indiana’s lone goal of the day after an incredible individual display of skill gave the Hoosiers a 1-0 lead. Gutman dribbled through almost eight defenders on his way to his 10th goal of the season.

After the game, Gutman said that irrespective of the opponent Sunday, Indiana needed to focus on one team – itself.

“We just have to play our game on Sunday,” Gutman said. “We don’t change what we do for other teams. We are who we are and if we play well, hopefully we can get a trophy on Sunday.”

Head Coach Todd Yeagley  – voted Big Ten Coach of the Year before the start of the tournament, said that his side definitely controlled the game against Maryland, and will look to do more of the same against Michigan.

“Michigan has a few more play-makers and will definitely open the field up,” Yeagley said. “Our guys will be ready, and we just have to go out there and execute our game.”

The Hoosiers will enter Sunday’s match with one of the hottest teams in the country, after winning all 10 games against Big Ten opposition this season. Indiana boasts four first team All-Big Ten players and is unbeaten in the last 37 regular season matches against Big Ten opponents.

But even though the Hoosiers haven’t lost a Big Ten match since 2015, the last time they won the Big Ten Tournament was 2013.

Additionally, out of the three games this season where Indiana failed to score first, the Hoosiers only won once. On the flip side, Indiana is now 15-0-1 when scoring first this season.

Their opponent, the University of Michigan Wolverines, boasts an equally impressive record when it comes to scoring first. The Wolverines are now 12-0-0 when notching the first goal, meaning that Sunday’s final will almost certainly come down to who scores first.

Michigan last won the Big Ten Tournament title in 2010 and finished the regular season in third place, behind only Indiana and Wisconsin. The maize and blue are headlined by two prolific attackers – junior Jack Hallahan and sophomore Umar Farouk Osman. Hallahan was voted first team All-Big Ten with eight goals and eight assists, while Osman was a second team All-Big Ten player with nine goals and three assists.

Having upset the Wisconsin Badgers, the Wolverines will try to do what no Big Ten team has done this season – beat the Indiana Hoosiers.

Head Coach Chaka Daley recognizes that winning is a challenge. Yet, if any team can do it, it’s his, he said.

“The first thing we need to do is relax,” Daley said. “But I think we’ve learned from some of the games throughout the year that didn’t go our way, and now we can try to be more competitive.”

A Michigan win on Sunday would be somewhat of a surprise. As referenced earlier, Michigan lost its only game against the Hoosiers this season and hasn’t beaten the Hoosiers since 2013. Additionally, Michigan is 0-2-1 against ranked opponents this season.

That said, Michigan is coming off a game where it allowed zero shots on goal and severely limited Wisconsin’s chances. Daley added that a win on Sunday will start with the back four, and the defense will need to replicate the performance it produced Friday.

“Our guys in the back did a great job of competing and winning battles,” Daley said after the Wisconsin victory. “They played very well and will need to do so again on Sunday.”

Michigan’s defense enters Sunday’s match with an outstanding defensive record. The Wolverines have allowed only the second fewest goals in Big Ten play this season. The team that allowed the fewest? Indiana.

An Indiana win on Sunday will be the side’s 13th Big Ten Tournament title, while a win for Michigan will represent the Wolverines’ second tournament title. Fans can catch the Big Ten Tournament final Sunday at noon eastern time on Big Ten Network and BTN2Go.

“Photo at top:  Left – Indiana defender Rece Buckmaster goes up for a header against Maryland. Right – Michigan forward Jack Hallahan controls the ball against a waiting Wisconsin defender. (Nick Hennion/Medill)

Midterm elections see increase in pro-choice members of Congress from Illinois

By AnnMarie Hilton
Medill Reports

Illinois provides greater access to abortion than many other Midwestern states, and the midterm election saw two pro-life congressman ousted by proponents of safe, legal abortions.

Democrat Lauren Underwood won the seat for Illinois’ fourteenth district removing Republican Randy Hultgren, who sponsored multiple pieces of pro-life legislation. The race for the sixth district paralleled that of Democrat Sean Casten winning over Republican incumbent Peter Roskam. Both districts cover  swathes of the northern, northwestern and western suburbs.

“They call us [Illinois] the abortion oasis of the Midwest,” said Mary Kate Knorr, executive director of Illinois Right to Life, an educational program. “I find that laughable.” Continue reading

UIC loses 3-0 to Northern Kentucky on Senior Night

By Kristen Keller
Medill Reports

Fans packed the Flames Athletic Center for the Nov. 2 game to honor two women who committed four years to the UIC women’s volleyball team on Senior Night. Hoping for a win, the Flames were unable to deliver, losing to Northern Kentucky in three sets.

“I wish we felt like ourselves,” said head coach Justin Ingram. “I think that part of our issues this year is growing up.”

When the young team took to the court Friday evening, the Norse started the match with the serve. Northern Kentucky took the the lead but the Flames kept it even for most of the game. Continue reading

Martial arts legend now focuses on the next generation

By Chris Cadeau
Medill Reports

Anthony Marquez, actor and decorated martial arts instructor, starred in the Mortal Kombat (Kung Lao) video games and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movies in the 1990’s. Today, Marquez is using his passion for martial arts to influence his students in his training facility (Extreme Martial Arts) in Chicago’s North side. Medill Reports spent time with Marquez and learned about the moment he decided to stop focusing on his own professional success and start educating and motivating others.

Photo at top: Anthony Marquez (right), EKF owner and head coach, teaching a martial arts defensive tactic to his student Jun Phan. (Chris Cadeau / Medill)