September 1, 2013

No. 7 Volleyball Improves to 5-0 with Wins Over Iowa Wesleyan, Cornell College

St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 1, 2013 – The No. 7-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team finished the Labor Day Classic by earning a three-set win over Iowa Wesleyan College (25-17, 25-12, 25-15), before battling back from a set down to earn a 25-27, 25-21, 25-15, 25-10 win over Cornell College in the final match of the tournament Sunday at the WU Field House.

Senior outside hitter Meghan Byrne, freshman middle hitter Caroline Dupont and sophomore middle hitter Jackie Nelligan were named to the Labor Day Classic all-tournament team. They were joined by Kathleen O'Connor and Kylea Weber of Cornell and Lindsay Johnson of Iowa Wesleyan. Blackburn College and University of Wisconsin-Platteville also competed in the tournament.

Washington U. 3, Iowa Wesleyan 0
The Bears jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set against Iowa Wesleyan, and maintained the lead throughout the remainder of the set. The Tigers pulled to within two at 15-13 on a kill by Emily West, but Washington U. got a pair of ace serves by Dupont and kills by Byrne and freshman outside hitter Alex Sheredy down the stretch to earn the 25-17 win. Sheredy finished with six kills on nine swings in the first set.

In the second set, the Tigers grabbed an early 4-1 lead, but Washington U. answered with seven-straight points to take the lead for good at 8-4 on an ace serve by freshman libero Kalehua Katagiri. The Bears had six ace serves in the set and took advantage of seven hitting errors by Iowa Wesleyan to cruise to the win in set two. In set three, the two teams battled to a 10-10 tie before Washington U. pulled away with a 15-5 run to end the match.

Sheredy was the lone player with double-digit kills, tallying 10, while Dupont finished with eight kills on 14 attacks (.571 hitting). Sophomore setters Allison Zastrow and Cassie Wang recorded 18 and 13 assists each. Wang and Katagiri led a balanced defensive effort by the Bears with five digs each. Washington U. hit .333 to Iowa Wesleyan's .076, but the Bears were whistled for seven blocking errors in the match.

Washington U. 3, Cornell 1
Cornell took a 5-2 lead to open the third set, before a kill by Byrne sparked a 5-0 run for the Bears that also included a pair of blocks by Sheredy and Dupont, and a service ace by Byrne. Neither team was able to gain more than a two-point lead the remainder of the set. The Rams had a set-point opportunity at 24-22, but a kill by sophomore right-side hitter Nkiru Udenze and a triple block by Dupont, Zastrow and Byrne brought the Bears even at 24-24. An attacking error by Cornell gave the Bears a set-point opportunity, but Cornell scored three-straight points after a timeout to take the first set, 27-25.

The Rams scored the first five points of the second set, but Washington U. battled back to tie the score at 10-10 on a kill by Sheredy. The teams traded leads until another tie at 18-18, before the Bears scored three-straight points on a pair of hitting errors by the Rams and a solo block by Nelligan. Cornell got to within two at 23-21, but a service error and an attacking error by the Rams gave Washington U. the 25-21 win ant evened the match score.

In the third set, Washington U. grabbed an 8-2 lead early and maintained the lead for the win. A kill by O'Connor brought the Rams to within 10-5, but seven-straight points, including three kills by Nelligan and an ace by Dupont stretched the Bears' lead to 17-5. A ball-handling error called on Cornell ended the set at 25-15 and gave the Bears a 2-1 lead in the match.

The fourth set was all Washington U. as the Bears jumped on top 14-1 behind 10 points served by freshman defensive specialist Corey Salzer. Six of the Bears' first 14 points came off attacking errors by the Rams. The closest Cornell got the rest of the way was a 13-point deficit as Washington U. finished off the match with a 25-10 win.

Dupont had a monster match for the Bears tallying season-highs of 10 kills, three ace serves and six blocks. Byrne led the Bears' attack with 12 kills, two aces and five digs. Sheredy added nine kills, 13 digs and three blocks. Katagiri led WUSTL defensively with 14 digs, while Salzer reached double-figures for the first time in her collegiate career, tallying 10 digs. Wang had a team-best 20 assists and also recorded a career-high nine digs, while Zastrow finished with 18 assists and three blocks. As a team, the bears hit .241 in the match, and recorded a season-best 10.5 blocks.

Washington U. improved to 5-0 on the season with the two wins Sunday. The Bears return to action hosting the WU/ASICS National Invitational Friday-Saturday, Sept. 6-7. Washington U. takes on Ohio Northern University at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6, before facing No. 21 Pacific Lutheran University and No. 3 Wittenberg University at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively, Sept. 7.

Bear Notebook: Dupont recorded 18 kills on 35 attacks without an error during the Bears' two wins Sunday … The wins brought Washington U.'s record to 441-48 (.902) at home since 1985 … Byrne added 18 kills to her career total, bringing it to 1,033, which ranks 21st all-time at Washington U.