Washington University Volleyball Sweeps No. 9 Juniata and No. 12 Colorado College
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Colorado Springs, Colo., September 16, 2011 – The second-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team ran its record to 12-0 with a pair of sweeps over No. 9 Juniata College (25-16, 25-13, 25-18) and No. 12 Colorado College (25-19, 25-20, 26-24) on Friday night at the Molten Colorado College Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colo.
In addition to winning their first 12 matches of the season the Bears have also set a new all-time best mark to start the season, as the Red and Green have yet to drop a set. The previous hottest start to any campaign came in 1998 when the Bears blanked their first 11 opponents before dropping their first set in a 3-1 win over Elmhurst College.
Washington U., which was hitting the road for the first time this season, returned to Colorado Springs for the first time since 2002, when it opened the season with four wins at Colorado College. Friday’s first match-up saw the Bears square off with rival Juniata College, but Washington University was able to extend its winning streak over the Eagles to four in a row and improve its all-time mark against Juniata to 19-13.
Senior middle hitter Lauren Budde and junior Drew Hargrave helped the Bears get off to a fast start against Juniata, posting identical 5-0-7 attack lines to pace their team to a 25-16 win. Sophomore outside hitter Meghan Byrne had a pair of kills in the opening frame and served up three-straight aces late in the set to give Washington U. a nine-point cushion.
Washington University jumped on Juniata early in the second set, quickly seizing a 5-1 lead with Byrne connecting on her first three swings of the set. Budde added five more kills in the second set with Hargrave chipping in three.
Byrne (four kills), Hargrave (four kills) and sophomore right side Megan Odenthal (four kills) led a balanced WUSTL attack in the seven-point third-set victory, with junior libero Kelly Pang tallying 12 of her 23 digs and junior setter Marilee Fisher registering 14 assists as the Bears posted a .457 (18-2-35) attack percentage.
Hargrave led the Washington U. hitters with 12 kills and a .571 hitting percentage, while Budde had 11 terminations with a .526 attack percentage and Byrne finished with 10 kills. Fisher recorded 37 assists in addition to five kills and four digs.
Washington University took advantage of eight Colorado College attack errors in the opening set of the second match of the day to take the first set 25-19. Fisher, Budde and Hargrave each had three kills in the frame.
Budde and Byrne had a pair of kills as the Bears opened up a 7-0 run to start the second set. A strong serving run from Pang kept the Tigers’ ball control on its heels and their offense had difficulty finding any rhythm.
Colorado College did recover, eventually pulling within one score, 15-14, following back-to-back blocks from Devin Wilkinson Kristen Liberty, but it would not get any closer with Washington U. pulling away with a 9-4 run to close the set.
The third set was the toughest of the day for Washington University and marked the first time this season the Bears needed extra points to earn a victory.
Washington U. appeared to have the match in hand with a 23-18 lead late in the third set, but the Tigers scored six of the next seven points, tying the score at 24-24 on a block from Meredith Ballard.
Freshman right side Lindsay Juriga put Washington University right back in the lead with a kill on the next point and the match ended in a 26-24 WUSTL win as Colorado College’s Hannah Varnell sent an attack wide to the left.
Budde led all players with 13 kills while hitting .360 against Colorado College. With 24 kills in two matches on Friday she now sits just eight away from No. 1,000 for her career. Pang finished with 16 digs against the Tigers and 39 for the day, moving her past Brooke Hortin for eighth place in school history with 1,446-career digs.
Washington U. (12-0) continues its run of six-straight matches against opponents ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top-25 Poll when it faces No. 15 Concordia College-Moorhead to start the second day of the Molten Colorado College Invitational on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. (MT).