Kelly Pang Sets School Career Digs Record as No. 1 Bears Beat No. 2 Wittenberg, No. 3 Calvin
WITTENBERG BOX | CALVIN BOX
Springfield, Ohio, Sept. 14, 2012 – Senior libero Kelly Pang became the all-time career digs leader in Washington University in St. Louis volleyball history as she helped lead the No. 1-ranked Bears to a pair of thrilling five-set victories over No. 2 Wittenberg University (24-26, 25-19, 25-22, 18-25, 16-14) and No. 3 Calvin College (22-25, 26-24, 22-25, 25-16, 18-16) on Friday at the Wittenberg Fall Classic.
Midway through the third set in Washington U.’s five-set win over Wittenberg, Pang recorded her 2,045th career dig, surpassing Colleen Winter as the Bears’ all-time career digs leader. Pang finished the day with 59 digs to bring her career total to 2,085.
#1 Washington U. 3, #2 Wittenberg 2
In a back-and-forth battle against the second-ranked and defending NCAA Division III National Champion, Wittenberg, the Bears held on to win in five sets, including a 16-14 victory in the deciding set. Washington U. saved its most effective offense for the final set, hitting .367 (13-2-30) in the deciding win. In that set, Wittenberg took an early 4-2 lead, before junior outside hitter Meghan Byrne hammered two kills and joined freshman middle hitter Jackie Nelligan for a block to tie the score, 5-5. A kill by senior outside hitter Drew Hargrave gave the Bears an 8-7 advantage as the teams switched sides. A serving error by Washington U. tied the score again at 8-8, but back-to-back kills by Hargrave made it 10-8 in favor of the Bears and forced a Wittenberg timeout.
Out of the timeout, another serving error by Washington U. brought the Tigers to within 10-9, and after a sideout, a third serving error made it 11-10 in favor of Washington U. Kills by junior middle hitter Emily Tulloch and Nelligan gave Washington U. a 13-10 lead. The Tigers then scored two points in a row before Byrne’s fourth kill of the set gave Washington U. match point, 14-12. Wittenberg fought off two match-point opportunities for the Bears, tying the score at 14-14. A kill by Nelligan gave the Bears another match-point opportunity, and Hargrave hit a ball off the top of the net that rolled along the tape and to the Wittenberg side of the floor to win the match for the Bears, 16-14.
Washington U. led much of the first set, including 22-18 late in the set, before Wittenberg rallied to tie the score at 23-23. A kill by Tulloch made it 24-23 in favor of the Bears, but the Tigers ran off three-straight points, including an ace serve and a ball-handling error on Washington U. to rally for the 26-24 win in the opening set. The Bears jumped out to a 7-3 lead early in the second set before Wittenberg went on an 8-3 run to take an 11-10 lead and for Washington U. to take a timeout. The Tigers continued to lead until a service ace by Byrne tied the score 18-18. After a Wittenberg timeout, the two teams each scored a point to make it 19-19, before the Bears scored the final six points of the set, including two kills by Hargrave and an ace serve by junior defensive specialist Tanya Marvi, to win 25-19.
It was Wittenberg who took the early lead in the third set, jumping out to a 7-2 lead. A kill by freshman right-side hitter Allison Zastrow made it 7-3, and Pang served the next six points, including a pair of aces, to give the Bears a 9-7 lead. After Wittenberg tied the score, 9-9, Washington U. went on a 7-1 run to make it 16-10. During the Bears’ 16th point, Pang recorded her 19th dig of the match, which made her the Bears’ all-time career digs leader. Following an official timeout to recognize Pang’s accomplishment, Wittenberg went on a 4-0 run to close to within 16-14. The Bears stretched their lead back to five (21-16) to force a Wittenberg timeout. The Tigers closed to within 24-22 before a block by Byrne and Zastrow gave the Bears the 25-22 set-three win to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the fourth set, Washington U. hit just .081 (11-8-37) as Wittenberg led by as many as 10 points (23-13) during the set. The Bears picked up the offensive intensity toward the end of the set, closing to within 24-18 before the Tigers recorded a kill to send the match to a fifth set.
Overall, the Bears hit .200 (69-27-210) in the match. Four players finished with double-digit kills in the match for Washington U. Hargrave finished with 18 kills, while Byrne added 14, and Tulloch and Nelligan tallied 12 each. Byrne and Nelligan also added four blocks apiece. Senior setter Marilee Fisher had 51 assists and a season-high 12 digs. Pang posted 29 digs, while Marvi added a career-best 22.
#1 Washington U. 3, #3 Calvin 2
After falling behind 2-1 in the match, Washington U. earned a decisive fourth-set victory to force a fifth set. In the final set, the Bears hit .375 (14-2-32), which included four kills on seven swings for both Hargrave and Nelligan in the set. Calvin built an early 6-3 lead on an ace serve that hit the top of the tape and fell to the floor, before Washington U. rallied to take a 10-9 lead on a pair of kills by Tulloch and one by Hargrave. The Knights tied the score (10-10) with a kill, before a block by freshman outside hitter Nkiru Udenze and Tulloch, followed by an ace by Pang and a kill by Udenze, made it 13-10 in favor of the Bears. Calvin rallied with three-straight points, but a kill by Byrne gave Washington U. a chance at match point. The teams traded kills to another tie at 16-16, before kills by Nelligan and Hargrave gave Washington U. the 18-16 win in the deciding set.
Washington U. came out firing to open the match against Calvin, as the Bears connected for kills on four of their first five swings to take a 10-5 lead. The Knights battled back to take a 13-12 advantage before both teams traded points to a 21-21 tie. A block by Calvin and a hitting error by the Bears gave the Knights a two-point cushion, and Calvin ended the set with another block to win 25-22.
Set two was back-and-forth throughout, with neither team gaining more than a three-point lead. A service ace by freshman defensive specialist Anna Bryniarski gave Washington U. set point at 24-23, but Calvin got a kill after a timeout to even the score at 24-24. An attack error by the Knights made it 25-24 in favor of the Bears, and Nelligan smashed a kill to end the set 26-24. Calvin led throughout the third set, building a 12-6 lead on a hitting error by the Bears. Washington U. battled back from 14-19 with a 5-1 run to cut the Knights’ lead to 20-19, but Calvin went on to win the set 25-22 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Washington U. turned up its intensity in the final two sets, jumping out to a 7-4 lead on a service ace by Marvi in the fourth set. Calvin rallied to tie the score (11-11) on a blocking error by the Bears, but a kill by Nelligan and four-straight points served by Udenze helped Washington U. build a 16-11 lead. After Calvin pulled to within 17-13, the Bears hammered four-straight kills, including two by Hargrave, to take a 21-13 lead. Two more kills by Hargrave and an ace by Fisher gave the Bears set-point, and an attack error by Calvin ended the set, 25-16. The Bears hit .419 in the set with 16 kills and just three errors on 31 swings.
Hargrave (23 kills, nine digs) and Tulloch (17 kills) each posted career-highs to lead the Bears to the win, while Byrne added 15 kills. Fisher tallied a season-high 61 assists, just one shy of her career-high, while also finishing with 10 digs and three aces. Pang notched a season-best 30 digs, and Marvi also finished in double-digits with 14.
Washington U. (12-0) continues play in the Wittenberg Fall Classic with two more matches against ranked teams on Saturday. The Bears are scheduled to take on No. 21 Heidelberg University at Noon (ET), before closing the tournament against No. 7 Hope College at 4 p.m. (ET).
Bear Notebook: The win over Wittenberg marked the 1,050th career coaching victory for Washington U. Head Coach Rich Luenemann, and his 460th at the helm of the WU program … Washington U. improved to 12-2 all-time against Wittenberg and 7-0 all-time against Calvin … The Bears are now 6-0 against ranked teams this season … Hargrave’s 41 kills on the day brought her career total to 945, just 55 shy of joining the 1,000-kill club.