St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 27, 2013 – The No. 9-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team picked up its 10th win of the season with a 25-11, 25-16, 25-23 win over University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on "Dig for Pink" night at the WU Field House Friday.
The Bears hit .500 with 15 kills on 26 attacks in the first set to cruise to a 25-11 win. The score was tied 3-3 before a 7-1 run gave Washington U. all the cushion it needed to win the set. The Blugolds pulled to within 13-9 on an attacking error by the Bears, but WUSTL went on a 7-1 run capped by a kill down the line by freshman Caroline Dupont to make it a 19-10 lead. After a sideout by UW-Eau Claire, the Bears won the final five points of the set, including an ace serve by freshman Amanda Palucki on set point. Dupont had five kills on six swings in the set, and UW-Eau Claire finished with a .000 hitting percentage.
In set two, Washington U. took a 4-2 lead after Dupont ended a long rally with a big kill that drew a roar from the crowd of pink-clad fans. The Bears extended the lead to 7-2 behind the serving of freshman Kalehua Katagiri before UW-Eau Claire managed to get a sideout. After the Blugolds pulled to within 8-4, Washington U. went on another 5-0 run, including two kills each for Dupont and senior Meghan Byrne. UW-Eau Claire was unable to trim the lead to less than seven points the remainder of the set and a kill by senior Emily Tulloch gave the Bears the 25-16 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Wisconsin-Eau Claire used eight blocks to push the Bears to the limit in the third set. Washington U. built a 7-4 lead, only to have the Blugolds rally to take a 10-9 lead on a block by Mackenzee Pierog and Katrina Raskie. After several more ties and lead changes, back-to-back blocks by Kelly Riesgraf and Alexis Wong gave UW-Eau Claire a 15-13 lead. The Blugolds extended the lead to 17-14 before a left-handed tip shot by Dupont ended the 4-1 run. A block by sophomores Allison Zastrow and Jackie Nelligan, followed by a kill by Zastrow, tied the score at 17-17 and forced a timeout by UW-Eau Claire. A service error gave the lead back to UW-Eau Claire, but a kill by Nelligan and two kills by Byrne put the Bears ahead for good at 20-18. Washington U. extended its lead to four and a kill by freshman Alex Sheredy to the back of the court gave the Bears match point at 24-20. UW-Eau Claire battled through three match-point opportunities for Washington U. with a kill and back-to-back blocks, but Dupont ended a long rally with another kill on an assist from sophomore Cassie Wang to seal the match win for the Bears.
Washington U. hit .288 in the match, while limiting the Blugolds to a .029 hitting percentage. Dupont was the lone player for Washington U. to record double-digit kills. She tallied 13 kills on 21 swings while hitting at a .571 clip. Sheredy and Byrne added nine and eight kills, respectively. Wang finished with 21 assists, while Zastrow tallied 17. Katagiri led the Bears defensively with 16 digs, and Sheredy chipped in 11.
Washington U. (10-3) plays two matches in the WU Invitational Saturday. The Bears face Millikin at 10 a.m., before taking on No. 6 Elmhurst at 12:15 p.m. in the WU Field House.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series against Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 6-0 … The Bears improved to 445-48 (.903) all-time at home … Byrne increased her career kills total to 1,106 to move into 17th on Washington U.'s all-time leaderboard … The 10.0 blocks for Wisconsin-Eau Claire was the most by any team against the Bears this season … The Bears' win ended a five-match winning streak for Wisconsin-Eau Claire.