No. 11 WUSTL Volleyball Sweeps UW-Whitewater in NCAA First Round

PRESS CONFERENCE

Elmhurst, Ill., Nov. 14, 2013 – The No. 11-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament with a 25-23, 25-23, 25-22 win over University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the first round Thursday evening in at the Elmhurst, Ill., Regional.

Washington U. improved to 27-7 overall with the win, while Wisconsin-Whitewater ended its season with a 27-12 record. The Bears face host and No. 5-ranked Elmhurst College at 7 p.m. Friday in the NCAA Second Round. Elmhurst earned a 25-16, 25-17, 25-13 win over Dominican University (Ill.) in the First Round Thursday.

Washington U. and Wisconsin-Whitewater played back and forth until three points in a row gave the Warhawks a 17-15 lead. Freshman Caroline Dupont recorded her fourth kill of the set and followed with an ace, before an attacking error by UW-Whitewater gave the Bears an 18-17 lead. After a sideout by the Warhawks, senior Meghan Byrne hammered a kill off the block to start another 3-0 run for Washington U. that forced a timeout by UW-Whitewater. The Bears took a 23-20 lead after sophomore Nkiru Udenze tooled the block, but Whitewater closed the gap to 23-22 before the Warhawks' third serving error of the set gave Washington U. a set-point opportunity at 24-22. An attacking error by the Bears made it 24-23, but a kill by freshman Alex Sheredy finished the set as Washington U. held on for the 25-23 win.

Wisconsin-Whitewater gained an early 8-6 lead in the second set, but a kill by Byrne sparked a 6-1 run for the Bears that turned the deficit into a 12-9 lead. The run included back-to-back blocks by Udenze and sophomore Jackie Nelligan. A kill by Dupont on a quick set, followed by an ace by freshman Corey Salzer, extended the Bears' lead to 15-11, but Wisconsin-Whitewater rallied to tie the score at 17-17 after an attacking error by the Bears. A soft roll shot from the back row by Sheredy and a kill by Byrne off the block gave Washington U. a 19-17 lead. The Warhawks answered with three straight points to regain the lead at 20-19, but Byrne answered with a kill to tie the score again. Udenze recorded kills on three of the next four points to make it 23-21 in favor of the Bears, but UW-Whitewater got a kill and a block to tie it at 23-23. A cross-court shot by Sheredy gave the Bears the lead back, and Dupont recorded a solo block on set-point to seal the 25-23 win and put Washington U. ahead 2-0 in the match.

In set three, Washington U. jumped out to a 9-4 lead behind two kills each by Udenze and Dupont, and a kill and ace by Sheredy. After a timeout, the Warhawks used a 4-1 run to close to within 10-8, but the Bears scored the next four points to make it 14-8 and stretched the lead to 16-9 after back-to-back kills by Nelligan and Sheredy. The Warhawks pulled to within 18-14 on an ace serve, but Washington U. answered and Sheredy's second ace of the match extended the Bears' lead to 22-15. A kill from the back row by Sheredy made it 24-19. UW-Whitewater battled off three match-point opportunities by the Bears before Nelligan tooled the block on a slide to seal the win for the Bears, 25-22.

Washington U. hit .208 in the match, including .300 in the second set. The Bears finished with seven ace serves and eight blocks, and were helped by six service errors by UW-Whitewater in the match. Dupont tallied a match-high 13 kills, while hitting .417, and added three blocks and an ace serve. Sheredy added 12 kills, two aces and five digs. Udenze had a big match for the Bears with seven kills and no errors on 14 swings, while also posting a career-high five blocks. Nelligan also finished with five blocks and had five kills while hitting .364. Sophomore Cassie Wang recorded 20 assists and two aces, while sophomore Allison Zastrow added 13 assists and two blocks. Freshman Kalehua Katagiri posted a match-high 23 digs, including 11 in the first set, which was a season-high for her in a three-set match.

Bear Notebook: Washington U. improved to 94-17 (.847) all-time in 27 appearances in the NCAA Tournament all-time … The Bears are 27-0 in NCAA Tournament First-Round matches … It was the sixth time the Bears and Warhawks have played in the NCAA Tournament, and Washington U. has won each of the past three meetings … The Bears lead the all-time series against UW-Whitewater 20-9, including a five-set win at Whitewater Oct. 11 … It was just the third time this season that Wisconsin-Whitewater lost in three sets … Sheredy moved into ninth on Washington U.'s all-time single-season attacks list (1,067) and is 12 attacks shy of moving into eighth … Katagiri brought her season digs total to 532, which is two shy of 10th on Washington U.'s all-time single-season leaderboard … Byrne increased her career kills total to 1,264, which is 12 shy of 11th on WUSTL's all-time career leaderboard … She is also seven attacks shy of moving into seventh on the Bears' all-time career list.