No. 11 Volleyball Tops St. Catherine, No. 18 UW-Whitewater at UW-Whitewater Invite III

Whitewater, Wis., Oct. 11, 2013 – The No. 11-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team battled to a pair of wins over St. Catherine University (25-9, 25-16, 21-25, 25-17) and No. 18 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (20-25, 25-18, 25-20, 24-26, 16-14) at the UW-Whitewater Invite III Friday night.

#11 Washington U. 3, St. Catherine 1
The Bears hit a blistering .480 (12-0-25) in the opening set, while limiting St. Catherine to a -.027 (5-6-37) hitting percentage, as the Bears cruised to a 25-9 win in set one. Freshman Alex Sheredy hammered four kills and freshman Kalehua Katagiri recorded nine digs to help the Bears to a 1-0 lead in the match. Washington U. jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the set behind a 5-0 run with freshman Corey Salzer serving. A kill by senior Emily Tulloch and an ace serve by senior Meghan Byrne extended the Bears' lead to 15-5 and forced St. Catherine to take its second timeout. Washington U. continued to dominate the set on its way to the 25-9 win.

St. Catherine used three blocks to help play to a 10-9 lead early in the second set. The Bears went on a 4-0 run behind a pair of kills by sophomore Jackie Nelligan and a block by Nelligan and Sheredy to take a 13-10 lead. The Wildcats got to within two at 14-12, but a 6-1 run by the Bears pushed their lead to 20-13 after back-to-back kills by Byrne. Two more kills by Byrne and a kill from the back row by Sheredy made it 23-15 in favor of the Bears, before a block by Nelligan and Byrne gave Washington U. the 25-16 win in set two.

The Wildcats took advantage of four attacking errors by the Bears to build a 9-3 lead in the third set. St. Catherine pushed the lead to as much as 17-7 before a 9-2 run by the Bears pulled them to within 16-19. Back-to-back errors by St. Catherine cut the deficit to 21-23, but St. Catherine held on for the 25-21 win to force a fourth set. In set four, Washington U. built a 9-4 lead. St. Catherine cut the lead to 9-6, but a 6-1 run, including back-to-back kills from the back row by Sheredy, pushed the Bears' lead to 15-7. Washington U. continued to pull away as the Bears won 25-17 to seal the match victory.

Washington U. hit .214 in the match, while St. Catherine finished with a .027 hitting percentage. The Bears tallied 74 digs and eight blocks in the match. Sheredy led the way with a double-double pf 13 kills and 12 digs. Freshman Caroline Dupont added 10 kills and five blocks, including three solo stops, while hitting at a .318 clip. Byrne finished with eight kills and six digs, while also accounting for four of the Bears' six aces. Nelligan tallied seven kills and three blocks, while Tulloch finished with six kills on eight swings (.625). Sophomore Cassie Wang had 22 assists and seven digs, while sophomore Allison Zastrow registered 17 assists and a season-best nine digs. Katagiri led the Bears defensively with 17 digs.

#11 Washington U. 3, #18 Wisconsin-Whitewater 2
After Washington U. won the second and third sets to take a 2-1 lead in the match, UW-Whitewater grabbed a 7-6 lead in the fourth set. The Warhawks built the lead to as many as three points on several occasions, but the Bears battled back to tie it at 18-18 on a kill by Byrne after a long rally that included a big dig by Katagiri. UW-Whitewater regained a 20-18 lead only to have Byrne tool the block and follow up with an ace serve to tie the score at 20-20. Three points in a row by the Warhawks again gave them the lead, 23-20. UW-Whitewater got a set-point opportunity at 24-22, but back-to-back kills by Sheredy tied the score again at 24-24. A service error by the Bears gave the UW-Whitewater another set-point opportunity and the Warhawks were able to take advantage to squeak out the 26-24 win and force a fifth set.

In set five, the teams traded leads until UW-Whitewater took a 7-6 lead after a block by the Bears appeared to hit the floor, but was not called down by the officials and the Warhawks got the point. An ace serve pushed UW-Whitewater's lead to 9-6, but a service error sparked an 8-0 run by the Bears that included three aces by Dupont to give the Bears match-point at 14-9. Behind the chants of a packed student section, UW-Whitewater battled back with five points in a row to tie the score at 14-14. A kill by Nelligan through the block gave the Bears a sideout and another match-point opportunity, and an attack into the antenna sealed the win for the Bears, 16-14, to end the match.

UW-Whitewater jumped out to a 12-5 lead in the first set, but the Bears trimmed the lead to three with a 4-0 run that included back-to-back blocks by Byrne and Nelligan. Sophomore Nkiru Udenze tooled the block for a kill that cut the Warhawks' lead to 13-11, but UW-Whitewater went on a 5-1 run to regain an 18-12 advantage. The Bears pulled to within three again at 19-16 following back-to-back kills by Dupont and a kill by Sheredy, but were unable to overcome the deficit as UW-Whitewater won the first set 25-20.

In the second set, Washington U. recorded five kills on its first six attacks to jump out to an 8-1 lead. The Bears led 12-6 before putting together a 7-1 run that included two kills and two blocks by Nelligan to push their lead to 19-7. A kill and an ace by Byrne made it 21-8. UW-Whitewater answered with a 7-1 run to pull to within 22-15, but Washington U. got a sideout with a kill by Udenze, and Dupont's sixth kill of the set sealed the 25-18 win for the Bears to even the match at 1-1.

The Bears lead 5-4 early in set three, before a 5-1 run that included back-to-back kills by Dupont made it 10-5 in favor of Washington U. The Warhawks answered with a 6-1 run of their own to tie the score at 11-11. A kill by Byrne to the back corner and a block by Nelligan and Byrne gave the Bears a 19-16 cushion, but the Warhawks quickly cut the deficit to one again at 19-18. Nelligan's 10th kill of the match sparked a 4-0 run for Washington U. that also included two blocks for Nelligan, to make it 23-18. A service error by the Warhawks gave the Bears a set-point opportunity and an ace by Byrne sealed the 25-20 win for the Bears.

Washington U. hit .238 in the match, while UW-Whitewater had a .182 hitting percentage. The Warhawks entered the weekend as the ninth-best blocking team in NCAA Division III but were outblocked by the Bears, who had a season-high 13 blocks. The Bears also tallied nine aces and 69 digs in the match.

Dupont led four players in double-digits with 16 kills, while also tallying three aces and two blocks. Nelligan finished with 15 kills while hitting .519 (15-1-27), and also had a career-high 11 blocks, including a season-best five solo blocks. Sheredy recorded 14 kills and nine digs, while Byrne added 12 kills, three aces, six digs and a career-high six block assists. Wang and Zastrow each tallied 25 assists, and Wang added 10 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Katagiri again led the Bears defensively with 17 digs, and senior Tanya Marvi chipped in 11.

Washington University (16-5) closes out the UW-Whitewater Invite III with a pair of matches Saturday. The Bears take on Westminster College (Mo.) at 10 a.m. followed by a match against DePauw University at Noon.

Bear Notebook: It was the first meeting in school history between Washington U. and St. Catherine … Washington U. leads the all-time series against UW-Whitewater, 19-9 … The Bears are 3-2 in five-set matches this season … Washington U. improved to 3-5 against ranked teams this season … Katagiri has posted double-digit digs 17 matches in a row … Byrne increased her career kills total to 1,155, which is 17 shy of 15th on Washington U.'s all-time career leaderboard … Byrne is also 53 attack attempts away from entering Washington U.'s all-time top-10 career attacks list.