Middle Hitters Power No. 11 Volleyball to Wins Over Westminster, DePauw

Middle Hitters Power No. 11 Volleyball to Wins Over Westminster, DePauw

Whitewater, Wis., Oct. 12, 2013 – Sophomore Jackie Nelligan and freshman Caroline Dupont combined to hit .554 to lead the No. 11-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team to wins over Westminster College (25-14, 25-11, 21-25, 25-13) and DePauw University (25-23, 25-19, 25-12) on the second day of the UW-Whitewater Invite III Saturday.

Washington U. improved to 18-5 overall with the wins, while Westminster dropped to 9-8 and DePauw fell to 17-3. The Bears return home to host the second University Athletic Association (UAA) Round Robin Oct. 19-20. Washington U. faces Carnegie Mellon University and Case Western Reserve University at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 19. The following day, the Bears take on New York University and No. 5 Emory University at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

#11 Washington U. 3, Westminster 1
Nelligan recorded kills on her first four swings and freshman Kalehua Katagiri served back-to-back aces as Washington U. jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set. Westminster pulled to within 5-13, but a 7-0 run with Katagiri serving pushed the Bears' lead to 22-13 and Washington U. closed out the set with a 25-14 win. The Bears hit .433 in the set with 14 kills and just one error on 30 attacks.

In set two, senior Tanya Marvi served the Bears to a 7-0 lead and freshman Alex Sheredy had five kills on Washington U.'s first six points. The Bears continued to roll offensively, hitting .545 (19-1-33) as they cruised to the 25-11 win and a 2-0 lead in the match. Westminster built a 12-8 lead in set three before Washington U. battled back with a 6-0 run behind the serving of senior Meghan Byrne to take a 14-12 lead. The teams traded leads to a 19-19 tie, but Westminster won six of the last eight points to earn the 25-21 win. In the third set, Washington U. hit just .028, while Westminster had a .207 hitting percentage.

The Bears' offense returned to form in the fourth set and the Bears jumped out to an 11-5 lead behind three kills by Sheredy and a string of five serves by freshman Corey Salzer. Washington U. continued to pull away, and a block by Sheredy and Dupont gave the Bears an 18-9 lead and forced a timeout by Westminster. A pair of kills and a block by sophomore Nkiru Udenze closed out the match for the Bears as they won set four 25-13.

Washington U. hit .441 in the fourth set to finish the match with a .353 hitting percentage. The Bears also had nine blocks in the match. Sheredy finished with a career-high 21 kills while hitting .326, and notched her 10th double-double of the season with 10 digs. Dupont (10 kills, four blocks) and Nelligan (seven kills) combined for a .630 hitting percentage (17-0-27). Sophomore Cassie Wang tallied 29 assists and seven digs, while sophomore Allison Zastrow added 19 assists. Katagiri finished with a team-high 16 digs and two aces, and Salzer recorded seven digs and two aces.

#11 Washington U. 3, DePauw 0
The Bears built an early 9-5 lead in the first set, but DePauw rallied to within 10-8. Washington U. answered with a 5-0 run, including an ace on the back line by Byrne, to extend the lead to 13-8. The Tigers scored the next six points to take their first lead at 14-13. The teams traded points until a Washington U. timeout with DePauw leading 16-15. Through that point in the set, the Bears were hitting -.042 with six kills and seven errors on 24 attacks. The Tigers led 18-17 but a kill from the back row by sophomore Anna Hunter, followed by kills by Zastrow and Dupont, made it 20-18 in favor of Washington U. The Bears pushed the lead to 23-20 on a kill by Nelligan, but DePauw again rallied to tie at 23-23. A kill by Byrne gave the Bears a set-point opportunity, and her serve on the ensuing point found the back line for her second ace of the set to give Washington U. the 25-23 win. The Bears finished with a .054 hitting percentage in the set, while DePauw was slightly better at .088.

DePauw built an early 4-1 lead after a block and an ace serve in set two. The Tigers maintained their lead at 6-4, but Washington U. went on a 4-0 run to take its first lead of the set at 7-6. The teams went back and forth until Dupont hammered a kill through the block to tie the score at 13-13. That sparked a 4-0 run by the Bears with Hunter serving that gave them the lead for good. The Tigers got to within two points three more times, but another 4-0 run for Washington U. made it 22-16. After three points by DePauw cut the lead to 22-19, Nelligan ended the rally with a kill and a pair of errors on the Tigers gave Washington U. the 25-19 win.

The Bears jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third set behind strong serving by Wang. Washington U. extended its lead to 8-1 with a kill and back-to-back aces by Byrne. DePauw was unable to get closer than seven the remainder of the set as Washington U. pulled away for the 25-12 win to end the match.

Washington U. hit .264 (44-16-106) in the match, while limiting DePauw to a season-low .107 (30-18-112) attacking percentage. Byrne finished with a match-high 12 kills while hitting .414 (12-0-29). She also accounted for four of the Bears' six ace serves. Nelligan and Dupont added nine kills each, with Dupont's coming on just 11 attacks for a .727 hitting percentage. Zastrow finished with 22 assists, while Wang had 15 assists and six digs. Katagiri had a big match for the Bears with 20 digs, and Sheredy chipped in 10 digs and seven kills.

Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series against both Westminster (9-0) and DePauw (11-0) … DePauw had lost just 10 sets this season before the sweep by the Bears … It was the first time the Tigers have been swept this season … Katagiri has posted double-digit digs in each of the past 19 matches … Byrne now has 1,170 career kills, which is two shy of 15th on Washington U.'s all-time career leaderboard and seven behind 14th … Byrne is also six attack attempts away from entering Washington U.'s all-time top-10 career attacks list … In four matches on the weekend, Dupont and Nelligan combined to hit .396 with 75 kills and 30 blocks.