No. 1 Bears Come-From-Behind to Defeat No. 2 Emory, 3-2
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Waltham, Mass., October 16, 2010 – The No. 1 Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team came-from-behind to defeat second-ranked Emory University, 3-2 (25-22, 18-25, 17-25, 25-21, 15-6), at the second University Athletic Association (UAA) round robin of the season on Saturday, Oct. 16, on the campus of Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. In the second match of the day, the Bears defeated Carnegie Mellon University, 3-1 (25-20, 25-17, 20-25, 25-17).
Washington University now stands at 23-0 and has come-from-behind to defeat the No. 2 team in the nation twice, also erasing a 2-1 deficit against Juniata College on Sept. 18.
The meetings between Washington University and Emory have become some of the fiercest in Division III volleyball, as the two schools have combined to win the last three national championships, with Washington U. winning in 2007 and 2009 and the Eagles winning the title in 2008.
Washington University now leads the all-time series with Emory 38-4, but the schools have split their last six meetings. In each of the last three seasons the team winning the regular season meeting fell in the UAA Championship match three weeks later, but went on to win the national championship at the end of the year.
Saturday morning’s showdown saw Washington U. playing without a pair of All-Americans, as sophomore setter Marilee Fisher and sophomore libero Kelly Pang missed the match because of injuries. Despite the loss of two starters, the Bears still protected their undefeated season and beat their eighth ranked opponent of the year.
The Bears rode a hot start while taking advantage of an out of sync Emory squad to win the opening set, 25-22. The Bears led 8-4 early and maintained that lead until Emory got back on track and tied the set at 16-16, before taking a 20-18 lead.
Washington University quickly turned the tables back to their favor with a 5-0 run. Junior middle hitter Lauren Budde tipped a ball over the block in the middle to knot the score at 20-20 and an ace from freshman outside hitter Meghan Byrne put the Red and Green back in front.
The Bears were out of system for much of the second set, falling 25-18, and for the start of the third before Byrne caught fire. Emory led the third set 9-3, but the Bears’ passing was back on track and Byrne recorded kills to account for five of her team’s first nine points of the set to make the score 11-9. The Bears remained within a couple of points for the next several plays, but Emory used another big run to pull ahead, 18-13, and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set played out similarly to the first. The Bears led early, 9-6 on ace from sophomore Meg Buker, and eventually by a score of 12-8. Once again Emory came back, but this time the Eagles never grabbed the lead and the set again hinged on a late Washington U. run.
Back-to-back kills from Byrne broke a 17-17 tie and sparked what turned into the decisive run of the match as the Bears would win the fourth, 25-21, and carry that momentum to a big fifth-set victory.
It was two out of system scores for Washington University that provided some separation in the fifth set, with senior right side Marya Kaminski recording assists on both plays. Kaminski set up freshman middle hitter Kaia Schwartz for a tip to give the Bears at 6-4 lead, and assisted a back-row kill from the 10-foot line for Budde to put the Bears up by three, 7-4. Washington University won 10 of the final 12 points of the fifth set to pick up the decisive 15-6 win.
Byrne finished the match with a team-high 18 kills, with Budde (12 kills) and sophomore Drew Hargrave (10 kills) also reaching double figures. Starting her first match of the season, freshman setter Megan Odenthal tallied 44 assists and two kills, both of which came during the fifth-set win. Senior Ali Hoffman had a team-high 22 digs, with Budde chipping in 18.
Byrne led the Bears once again in the win over Carnegie Mellon, notching a team-high 17 kills while hitting .469. She had five kills in the first-set victory where the Red and Green used a 7-0 run to erase a 15-11 Carnegie Mellon lead and pull ahead 18-15.
Washington U. jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the second set and never looked back, hitting .357 as a team in the second frame and being led by Byrne (six kills) and Hargrave (four kills). Carnegie bounced back by taking the third set, 25-20, but a balanced offensive attack for the Bears in the fourth resulted in another 25-17 victory.
Hoffman had 16 digs against the Tartans, while Buker was one off that pace with 15 and freshman Tanya Marvi tallied 13. Odenthal dished out 42 assists in four sets to go along with four kills and seven digs.
Washington U. (23-0, 5-0 UAA) concludes its regular season UAA slate on Sunday, Oct. 17, in Waltham, Mass. The Bears face No. 23 New York University at 10 a.m. (ET), and Case Western Reserve University at 12 p.m. (ET).
Bear Notebook: At 23-0, Washington University is off to its best start since 2005 when the Bears won their first 33 matches of the season before falling to Emory in the UAA Championship match … Washington U. had seven solo blocks in the win over Emory, the most since the team recorded eight against Wisconsin-Platteville on Sept. 4.