September 14, 2013

No. 6 Volleyball Splits Matches on Second Day of Wittenberg Fall Classic

Springfield, Ohio, Sept. 14, 2013 – The No. 6-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team closed the Wittenberg Fall Classic with a 25-12, 22-25, 25-14, 25-20 win over Heidelberg University Saturday afternoon. The Bears came up short in a 25-18, 25-20, 21-25, 18-25, 11-15 loss to unbeaten and No. 16 Juniata College in their first match of the day.

Sophomore Jackie Nelligan was named to the all-tournament team after a solid weekend for the Bears. She recorded double-digit kills in three of Washington U.'s four matches, finishing with 42 kills and 16 blocks on the weekend. Nelligan finished with a career-high 15 kills in the Bears' win over Heidelberg to close the weekend.

#16 Juniata 3, #6 Washington U. 2
Washington U. came out firing to take a 2-0 lead in the match, but Juniata battled to wins in sets three and four to force the decisive fifth set. The Eagles jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the fifth set before a 4-0 run by the Bears, including two kills by senior Meghan Byrne, tied the score at 8-8. The teams traded points until a solo block by freshman Caroline Dupont made it 11-11. A kill by the Eagles and a pair of attacking errors by the Bears gave Juniata match-point opportunity, and an ace serve ended the match as Juniata earned the 15-11 win in set five.

The first set started evenly as a service error by Washington U. gave Juniata a 12-11 lead. The Bears then went on an 8-2 run that included three kills by freshman Alex Sheredy and an ace serve and kill by sophomore Cassie Wang, to build a 19-14 lead. After a kill by the Eagles made it 19-15, another 5-1 run for Washington U. gave the Bears a set-point opportunity at 24-16. Back-to-back kills by Juniata cut the lead to 24-18, but Byrne ended the set with a kill. Washington U. hit .438 (16-2-32) in the set, while limiting Juniata to a .143 (9-5-28) hitting percentage.

In set two, Juniata led 4-3 early, but five-straight points, including a pair of kills by Sheredy, gave the Bears an 8-4 lead. The Eagles rallied to take a 13-11 lead, before a 6-0 run that included three kills by Nelligan and an ace by Byrne, made the score 17-13 in favor of the Bears. Juniata cut the lead to one at 19-18 and 21-20, but Washington U. responded both times and a kill by Dupont sparked a 4-0 run for the Bears sealed the 25-20 win in set two and gave them a 2-0 lead in the match.

In the third set, Juniata gained a 10-7 advantage, before a 4-0 run by Washington U., including two kills by Byrne, gave the Bears an 11-10 lead. The teams battled back and forth before a 5-1 run for Juniata made the score 18-14 in favor of the Eagles. Back-to-back attacking errors by Juniata and a kill by Sheredy pulled the Bears to within 18-17, but Washington U. managed just three more kills in the set as the Eagles pulled away for the 25-21 win. After being held to nine kills each in the first two sets, Juniata's offense finally got on track in the third set as the Eagles recorded 14 kills and a .294 hitting percentage. The Bears tallied 13 kills and outhit Juniata with a .300 hitting percentage, but were hampered by three service errors in the set.

Juniata's offense remained hot to start the fourth set as the Eagles jumped out to an 8-3 lead. The Bears chipped away at the lead and four-straight points on two kills each by senior Emily Tulloch and Dupont brought Washington U. to within 14-13. The Eagles answered with a 4-1 run to regain a five-point lead (19-14). Trailing 21-16, a kill by freshman Kalehua Katagiri and a block by Nelligan and Tulloch made it 21-18, but Juniata finished the set with four unanswered points to win 25-18 and force a fifth set.

Washington U. finished with a .222 hitting percentage (58-24-153) to Juniata's .204 (54-23-152), and the Bears also recorded nine team blocks in the match. Both teams finished with eight ace serves each, but Washington U. was hampered by 14 service errors.

Sheredy had 16 kills to lead four Bears in double digits, and also added seven digs. Dupont finished with 12 kills while hitting .455 (12-2-22), while Byrne and Nelligan tallied 10 kills each. Nelligan also finished with a team-best four blocks, while Byrne chipped in seven digs and two aces. Wang just missed a double-double with 23 assists and nine digs, while also recording a team-best three aces. Sophomore Allison Zastrow added 18 assists and three block assists. Katagiri led the Bears' defensively with 20 digs and also had a career-high eight assists.

#6 Washington U. 3, Heidelberg 1
Washington U. and Heidelberg played evenly to open the match, but the Bears held a 10-9 lead before making a 6-0 run behind strong serving from Salzer and three kills by Dupont. After a sideout by Heidelberg, the Bears put together five-straight points to extend their lead to 21-10. Washington U. closed the set with a 25-12 win on a kill by Wang. The Bears hit .393 (15-4-28) in the opening set, while limiting Heidelberg to -.115 hitting (5-8-26).

Set two was even through a tie at 16-16, but Heidelberg went on a 4-0 run to take a 20-16 lead. The Bears pulled to within two four more times in the set, but were unable to overcome the deficit and a kill by Sarah Botts gave Heidelberg the 25-22 win in set two. The teams played to a 9-9 tie to start the third set, before the Bears went on a 7-1 run to open up a 16-10 lead. After taking a timeout, Heidelberg got a sideout, but Washington U. answered with an 8-1 run, including a kill and two aces by Nelligan, to make it 24-12. Heidelberg held off two set-point opportunities, but Sheredy ended it with a kill that gave the Bears a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Bears led from start to finish in the fourth set, building a 13-6 lead after a block by Dupont and Sheredy. Washington U. extended its lead to 22-14 before Heidelberg rallied to cut it to 23-20. A solo block by junior Lindsay Juriga and a kill by Dupont sealed the win for the Bears with a 25-20 victory in set four.

Washington U. hit .250 in the match, including .414 (13-1-29) in the third set. The Bears limited Heidelberg to .090 (33-21-134) hitting in the match, including a season-high 10.5 blocks for Washington U. Dupont and Nelligan finished with 15 kills each, and Dupont added three blocks. Nelligan added six blocks and a career-best two ace serves. Byrne recorded the first double-double of her career with 12 kills and a career-high 10 digs. Wang tallied 25 assists and six digs, while Zastrow had 21 assists and three blocks. Katagiri equaled her career-high with 21 digs.

Washington U. (9-3) is back in action at the Washington University Invitational Sept. 27-28 in the WU Field House. The Bears take on University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire at 7:15 p.m. Sept. 27 on Dig for Pink night.

Bear Notebook: Byrne increased her career kills total to 1,098, six shy of 17th on Washington U.'s all-time leaderboard … Washington U. leads the all-time series against both Juniata (20-14) and Heidelberg (2-0) … Juniata had lost just two sets through its first 10 matches of the season … Washington U. dropped to 2-3 against ranked teams this season with the loss to Juniata … All three of the Bears' losses this season came against undefeated teams – No. 5 Hope (12-0), No. 1 Calvin (10-0), and No. 16 Juniata (11-0).