St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 30, 2013 – Senior outside hitter Meghan Byrne hammered a career-high 22 kills as she became the 23rd volleyball player in Washington University in St. Louis history to surpass 1,000 career kills as the No. 7-ranked Bears earned a 25-16, 25-14, 23-25, 25-16 win over Webster University to open the 2013 season Friday at the WU Field House.
Byrne, who entered the match 15 kills shy of 1,000, recorded a career-best 22 kills and hit .486 in the match, while also tallying eight digs and equaling her career-high with four ace serves. Freshman outside hitter Alex Sheredy recorded a double-double in her first collegiate match, finishing with 19 kills and 18 digs. Freshman libero Kalehua Katagiri had a team-high 20 digs, while senior defensive specialist Tanya Marvi added 10. Sophomore setters Allison Zastrow and Cassie Wang posted 36 and 24 assists, respectively. As a team, the Bears hit .276 in the match and recorded 65 kills. Webster was limited to 36 kills and a .101 hitting percentage in the match.
The two teams battled back and forth to open the match, and a kill by Webster's Kristen McDowell brought the Gorloks to within 11-9. The Bears went on a 5-0 run, including kills by sophomore right-side hitter Nkiru Udenze and sophomore middle hitter Jackie Nelligan, as well as a block by Byrne and Nelligan, to open up a 16-9 lead. That was all the cushion Washington U. needed and a kill by Sheredy gave the Bears a 25-16 win in set one.
A block by Emily Ratkewicz and Jenny Howard gave Webster an early 5-3 lead in the second set, but Washington U. scored the next eight points behind a kill and three ace serves by Byrne, and three kills by Sheredy. Byrne and Sheredy combined for 12 of Washington U.'s 18 kills in the second set, as the Bears hit .441 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, WUSTL jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind the serving of freshman defensive specialist Corey Salzer. Webster battled back to tie the score at 7-7. With the Bears holding an 11-10 lead, Byrne tapped a Webster overpass to the floor for her 1,000th career kill. The score remained close the rest of the set, but an attack error by Webster gave Washington U. a 23-20 lead late. After the Gorloks called a timeout, they scored five unanswered points, including a pair of hitting errors and a service error by the Bears, to take the 25-23 win.
Byrne accounted for five kills, including three-straight terminations, as Washington U. took a 7-3 lead in set four. Webster pulled to within 9-8 on a kill by Ashley Fawcett, but Washington U. pulled away and Sheredy's 19th kill of the night sealed the match victory for the Bears as they earned a 25-16 win in the fourth set.
Washington U. (1-0) hosts Blackburn College, Cornell College (Iowa), Iowa Wesleyan College and University of Wisconsin-Platteville in the Labor Day Classic Saturday and Sunday. The Bears take on Blackburn at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by a 7:30 meeting with UW-Platteville.
Bear Notebook: It marked interim head coach Luke Young's first victory as a collegiate head coach … Senior middle hitter Emily Tulloch hit a blistering .833 with five kills on six swings … Washington U. has won 13-straight season openers … The Bears are 437-48 (.901) at home since 1985 … WUSTL improved to 22-0 against Webster all-time.