No. 1 Washington U. Volleyball Tops Alverno, No. 24 Juniata on Senior Night
St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 26, 2012 - The top-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team improved its home record to 16-0 this season with a pair of wins over Alverno College (25-7, 25-11, 25-17) and No. 24 Juniata College (19-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-20) Friday at the Halloween Invitational.
After sweeping Alverno, the Bears earned a hard-fought win over Juniata in four sets. Prior to the match against Juniata, Washington U. honored five seniors – defensive specialist Meg Buker, setter Marilee Fisher, outside hitter Drew Hargrave, libero Kelly Pang and student assistant coach Emmy Luenemann – for Senior Night at the WU Field House.
#1 Washington U. 3, Alverno 0
The Bears cruised to a 25-7, 25-11, 25-17 win over Alverno to open the Halloween Invitational. Washington U. recorded 12 service aces in the match, and hit .272 while holding Alverno to a -.060 hitting percentage. Freshman defensive specialist Anna Hunter served a career-high six aces, while Pang sophomore defensive specialist Lauren Yung recorded three aces each. Freshman outside hitter Nkiru Udenze tallied team-highs of seven kills and eight digs, while freshman setter Cassie Wang notched 14 assists.
#1 Washington U. 3, #24 Juniata 1
Juniata used aggressive serving to jump out to a 8-2 lead in the opening set. The Bears rallied with a 7-1 run to pull to within 8-9 on a kill by junior middle hitter Emily Tulloch, before the Eagles stretched the lead back to 15-10. Washington U. cut the lead to two (19-17) on a kill by junior right-side hitter Tessa Blood, but Juniata answered with five-straight points, including two aces to stretch the lead to 24-17. The Bears fought off a pair of set-point opportunities for Juniata with back-to-back kills by junior outside hitter Meghan Byrne, before finishing the set with a kill to earn the 25-19 win. The Eagles tallied five aces in the opening set.
The Bears took a 6-0 lead to open the second set behind strong serving by Fisher, before Juniata pulled to within 10-8 on a block. Washington U. answered with a 5-0 run to regain a 15-8 lead. The Bears maintained the lead until back-to-back attacking errors allowed Juniata to tie the score at 23-23. A kill by Hargrave and an attack error by the Eagles gave the Bears the 25-23 win to even the match at 1-1. Hargrave dominated the set, accounting for eight kills to help the Bears to the win.
The team played evenly to open the third set before an 8-1 run by Juniata gave the Eagles a 17-10 lead. A solo block by freshman middle hitter Jackie Nelligan sparked a 9-0 run by the Bears, which included five kills by Hargrave, to turn the deficit into a 19-17 lead. Juniata rallied to regain the lead at 20-19. The teams traded points until a kill by Blood brought the Bears even at 23-23. An attacking error by the Eagles and another solo stop by Nelligan sealed the come-from-behind win, 25-23, to give Washington U. a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the fourth set, the teams again played evenly until Washington U. started to pull away midway through the set. A solo block by Byrne gave the Bears an 18-10 lead. A kill by Nelligan made it 21-14, before Juniata cut the lead to 22-18 with a 4-1 run. A kill by Tulloch ended the rally, and a serving error by the Eagles a few points later gave the Bears the 25-20 win to finish the match.
Washington U. hit .243 in the match, while Juniata finished with a .147 hitting percentage. The Eagles hit just .096 in the final set. The Bears also tallied eight team blocks in the match, including six in the final two sets. Hargrave led the offensive attack with 19 kills. Blood recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs while hitting .391 with just one error on 23 swings in the match. Tulloch tallied nine kills and a team-high five blocks. Fisher finished with 46 assists, a season-high four aces and eight digs. Pang led the Bears defensively with 30 digs, while junior defensive specialist Tanya Marvi equaled her career-high with 26 digs.
Washington University (26-2) closes the regular season by taking on St. Ambrose University (17-10) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the last match of the Halloween Invitational. St. Ambrose earned a 25-7, 25-10, 25-14 win over Alverno in its only match of the day Friday.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. improved to 9-2 against ranked opponents this season with the win over Juniata … The meeting between Washington U. and Alverno was the first-ever … The Bears improved to 20-13 all-time against Juniata … Pang improved her Washington University career digs record to 2,388 … Pang’s season total of 548 digs ranks eighth all-time, giving her four of the top-eight single-season digs marks in school history … Fisher moved into fourth place on the Washington U. career assists list (4,338), passing Lori Nishikawa (4,310) … Hargrave now has 2,974 career attacks, moving her into ninth on the Washington U. career list, ahead of Julie Suellentrop (2,966).