No. 1 Volleyball Falls to No. 23 New York and Case Western Reserve at UAA Round Robin
BOX 1 | BOX 2
Waltham, Mass., October 17, 2010 – The No. 1 Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team lost its bid for an undefeated season by dropping a pair of matches at the second University Athletic Association (UAA) round robin on Sunday, Oct. 17, on the campus of Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.
The Bears lost their first match of the day to No. 23 New York University 3-2 (25-20, 16-25, 25-21, 23-25, 12-15), before falling to Case Western Reserve University 3-1 (26-24, 14-25, 29-31, 19-25) on Sunday afternoon.
The Bears lost two matches during UAA round robin play for just the second time in school history and the first since Oct. 6, 2001, when the Red and Green fell to Carnegie Mellon University and New York. The loss to Case Western Reserve University is the first in school history, with Washington University now holding a 35-1 all-time record against the Spartans.
The Bears had not lost back-to-back matches in over two years, since a pair of setbacks to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and West Florida in 2008.
Washington University finishes the 2010 UAA round robin schedule with a 5-2 record, and will be the No. 3 seed for the conference championship, scheduled for Friday-Saturday, Nov. 5-6, on the campus of Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio.
The conference tournament features two pools of four teams that will participate in a round robin format, with the winners of each pool advancing to play for the conference championship. Washington U. has won a conference best 19 UAA titles, the last coming in 2008, a 3-2 win over Emory University in St. Louis, Mo.
Washington University was missing three starters on Sunday, as sophomore libero Kelly Pang, sophomore setter Marilee Fisher and junior middle hitter Lauren Budde each missed the matches because of injuries.
The Bears still got off to a fast start against New York, taking the first set by five points before the Violets drew even with a 25-16 second-set win. Sophomore outside hitter Drew Hargrave led Washington U. to a 25-21 win in the third set, where she tallied a team-high five kills and the Bears hit .361 as a team.
Despite the hot hitting from Washington U., New York still held a 20-19 lead late in the third set. However, the Bears answered with a 5-0 run to secure the win. Freshman outside hitter Meghan Byrne had a string of difficult jump serves to disrupt the New York attack, forcing one New York ball handling error, and pair of violet attack errors, one of which was blocked down by freshman setter Megan Odenthal and freshman middle hitter Kaia Schwartz.
New York rebounded to take a very tight fourth set 25-23 with a 4-0 run during the waning moments of the frame. The fifth set featured big runs from both teams, with the Violets pulling away at the very end. New York led 7-3 early on before Washington University scored six unanswered points to take a 9-7 lead.
Again it was Byrne back for the serve during the Bears’ scoring run. Schwartz tied the match at 7-7 when she killed an overpass off a mishandled serve, and killed another overpass on the next play, this time following a Hargrave attack. Hargrave’s third kill of the fifth set put the Bears up by two, but NYU scored five of the next seven points to retake the lead for good.
Hargrave led the Bears with 15 kills against New York, with freshman right side Tessa Blood and Byrne tallying 12 scores apiece. Washington U. hit just .172 as a team and the Bears committed an uncharacteristic 11 reception errors.
Washington University hit much better against Case Western Reserve but was unable to overcome the tough loss just 45 minutes prior. Schwartz and Hargrave each contributed four kills during the 26-24 opening set win, but the Spartans jumped out to a 5-0 lead to open the second set on the way to a 25-14.
The match with Case seemed to swing at the third set with the Spartans prevailing 31-29. Washington University staved off set point on four separate occasions in the third, with Hargrave, Byrne and senior right side Marya Kaminski each registering a kill during a crucial moment. Eventually Case Western Reserve broke a 29-29 tie with back-to-back scores to take a 2-1 lead and went on to win the fourth set, 25-19.
Byrne was the only attacker to reach double digit kills against Case Western Reserve, as she finished the match with 15 scores while hitting .394. The Bears struggled again with their serve receive, committing eight reception errors, but they also had eight aces, four of which came from sophomore Meg Buker.
Washington U. (23-2, 5-2 UAA) will take the next week off from action before returning to the court on Tuesday, Oct. 26, when it takes on the Webster University Gorloks at their campus in St. Louis, Mo., at 8 p.m.