Volleyball Sweeps No. 20 UW-Whitewater and No. 6 Christopher Newport
BOX 1 | BOX 2 | TOURNAMENT SITE
St. Louis, Mo., September 10, 2011 – The second-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team endured its toughest test of the season but still pulled out a 3-0 victory over No. 6 Christopher Newport University (25-17, 25-23, 25-20) in the WU/Asics National Invitational championship match on Saturday afternoon at the Washington University Field House in St. Louis, Mo.
Earlier in the day Washington U. defeated No. 20 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-11), leaving the Bears with a perfect 10-0 mark through the first two weeks of the season without dropping a set in any match.
Senior middle hitter Lauren Budde, junior libero Kelly Pang and junior outside hitter Drew Hargrave were each named to the WU/Asics National Invitational All-Tournament Team for their roles in leading the Red and Green to a perfect weekend.
Budde paced the offense with 54 kills, an average of 4.5 per set, while hitting a team-high .441. She also notched 38 digs, six aces and five total blocks. Pang averaged 5.64 digs per set to finish the weekend with 62, including a season-high 30 in the win over Christopher Newport. She moved past Haleigh Spencer for ninth-place in school history with 1,407 digs in just two-plus seasons on the Danforth Campus.
Hargrave had 40 kills, an average of 3.33 per set, and seemed to find a way to score whenever Washington University needed a boost throughout the tournament, especially in the victory over Christopher Newport.
The showdown between Washington U. and Christopher Newport in the National Invitational finale amounted to the tournament championship match with both teams posting 3-0 records through the first day and a half of competition.
Christopher Newport started strong in the first set, taking a quick 5-1 lead, but it would not last, with the Bears coming back behind a 12-3 scoring surge to take a 13-8 lead. Freshman Lindsay Juriga took a pass from sophomore outside hitter Meghan Byrne and threw it down on the right side to put Washington U. back in front, 9-8.
Sophomore middle hitter Kaia Schwartz blocked down a CNU attack to make it 10-8 and Juriga registered another kill to put the Bears ahead by three, on the way to an eight-point opening-set win.
The second set represented the closest any team has come to taking a frame against Washington University this season, but behind a late run the Bears erased a four-point deficit and held on for the 25-23 win.
Christopher Newport did not help its chances with three-straight hitting errors that cut its 21-17 lead into just a 21-20 margin. Budde scored in the next play to knot the set and Juriga put Washington U. in front with a kill to complete a 5-0 WUSTL run. Coming out of a timeout Budde served up an ace to bring up set point, and two plays later Byrne clinched the win with a kill.
Pang seemed to be everywhere on defense for Washington University in the second set, recording 14 of her season-high 30 digs in that frame alone. Hargrave had four kills, finding a way to score at several key moments to keep the Bears from falling behind by any more than four points.
Finally in the third set Washington U. was the team to get off to a strong start, leading 6-2, but Christopher Newport came back to by scoring seven of the next nine points to take a slim lead. An ace from junior Meg Buker gave the lead back to Washington U., 17-16, and Byrne accounted for the match’s final three points with a solo block and back-to-back kills to finish off the Captains.
Budde led the Bears with 12 kills to go along with 11 digs and two aces in the win. Byrne also finished in double-figures with 10 kills, Junior setter Marilee Fisher recorded 36 assists, and senior defensive specialist Tricia Brandt had 16 digs.
Wisconsin-Whitewater had no answer for Hargrave in the opening set, who scored on six of her nine swings to lead the Bears to a 25-18 win. Budde and Hargrave combined for 11 of Washington University’s 17 second-set kills and paced the offense again in the 14-point third-set win.
Washington U. hit .385 as a team in the win over the Warhawks, with Budde scoring 14 times on just 18 attacks. She did not commit an attack error in the match and hit .778 in addition to tallying a team-high 10 digs. Hargrave also finished with 14 kills and hit .429 (14-2-28). Byrne also had an efficient match offensively, hitting .438 with eight kills to just one error. Fisher notched 36 assists, averaging 12 per set and with eight digs.
Washington U. (10-0) will hit the road for the first time this season when it returns to action next weekend for the Molten Colorado College Invitational, to be held Friday-Saturday, Sept. 16-17, in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Bears will battle three teams ranked in the top-15 of the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top-25 Poll at the Molten Colorado College Invite, starting with No. 9 Juniata College on Friday at 5 p.m. (MT) and No. 13 Colorado College at 7 p.m. (MT). Washington U. will face No. 15 Concordia College-Moorhead and Endicott College on Saturday.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. now leads the all-time series with UW-Whitewater 17-9, and the Bears have won two-straight contests against the Warhawks … Washington U. and Christopher Newport have met just twice, with the Bears winning both matchups.