No. 7 Bears Battle to Wins Over Heidelberg, No. 14 St. Benedict

No. 7 Bears Battle to Wins Over Heidelberg, No. 14 St. Benedict

Elmhurst, Ill., Sept. 19, 2014 – The No. 7-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team earned a pair of hard-fought wins on the first day of the Elmhurst Invite II Friday evening. The Bears earned a 25-18, 20-25, 25-14, 25-12 win over Heidelberg University in their first match of the day, then battled to a 25-18, 26-24, 19-25, 26-28, 15-7 win over No. 14 College of Saint Benedict in the final match.

Washington U. (14-2) concludes the Elmhurst Invite II with matches against University of Wisconsin-Platteville and No. 11 Eastern University Saturday. The Bears take on Wisconsin-Platteville at 9 a.m., followed by a 1 p.m. meeting against Eastern.

#7 Washington U. 3, Heidelberg 1

Washington U. got off to a hot start offensively, hitting .306 in the first set, including six kills on seven swings by sophomore Caroline Dupont. The Bears called timeout after a blocking error tied the score at 10-10. Kills by Dupont and junior Allison Zastrow, and an ace by junior Cassie Wang quickly made it 13-10 in favor of Washington U. and forced a Heidelberg timeout. After an attack by the Bears went long, Washington U. scored three straight points to extend its lead to 18-13. The Student Princes closed the deficit to 20-17, but kills by junior Jackie Nelligan and Dupont sparked a 5-1 run that gave the Bears set-point at 24-18. Heidelberg battled through three set-point opportunities before Dupont's sixth kill of the set gave Washington U. the first-set win.

Heidelberg jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the second set, but Washington U. battled back to tie at 8-8 on an ace serve by Sheredy. The Student Princes scored the next four points to regain a 12-8 advantage. The Bears tied the score at 16-16 on a kill by Zastrow, but Heidelberg pulled away to win set two 25-20. The Student Princes hit .483 (17-3-29) to win the second set.

Washington U. took an early 8-4 lead on a quick kill by Nelligan in set three, but Heidelberg pulled to within 8-6 on an ace serve. A serving error by Heidelberg gave the Bears a side-out and started a 9-1 run that included two kills and two blocks by Dupont to make it 17-7 in favor of Washington U. The Student Princes cut the deficit to eight at 20-12, but a 4-0 run by the Bears that included a kill by Nelligan and a pair of blocks by Nelligan and sophomore Amanda Palucki made it 24-12. After two points by Heidelberg made the score 24-14, Udenze finished off the set with a soft kill off the top of the block to give Washington U. a 2-1 lead in the match.

In set four, the Bears jumped out to a 7-2 lead, only to have Heidelberg answer with a 4-0 run to make it 7-6. A kill by Sheredy sparked a 13-2 run for the Bears that put them firmly in control with a 20-8 lead, and a kill by Nelligan ended the match as the Bears won set four 25-12.

Washington U. hit .282 (54-17-131) in the match, while Heidelberg finished with a .176 (47-23-136) attack percentage. The Bears equaled their season-high with eight service aces, while also recording seven blocks. Dupont had a season-high 14 kills and two blocks while hitting .619 (14-1-21). Udenze matched her with a season-best 14 kills while hitting at a .444 clip (14-2-27), and also had six digs. Nelligan added eight kills and five blocks, while Sheredy had eight kills and 10 digs. Senior Lindsay Juriga finished with a career-high 27 assists and nine digs, while Wang added 11 assists and Zastrow tallied five kills, eight assists and six digs. Sophomore Kalehua Katagiri led the Bears defensively with 16 digs.

#7 Washington U. 3, #14 St. Benedict 2

After winning the first two sets, Washington U. was pushed to a fifth set by St. Benedict. The Bears found another gear in the decisive set, building a quick 4-1 lead after two kills by Udenze, one by Zastrow and an ace on the back line by senior Lauren Yung. After a timeout by St. Benedict, the Bears got a block from Dupont and Zastrow, and three attacking errors by the Blazers pushed Washington U.'s lead to 8-2 as the teams switched sides. After a serve in the net by Washington U. made it 10-4 in favor of the Bears, Nelligan got three kills and Sheredy came through with an ace to make it 14-4. St. Benedict battled through three match-point opportunities for the Bears, but a hit by Udenze found the floor to end the match as the Bears earned the 15-7 win in set five.

Washington U. got off to a strong start in the match, jumping out to a 10-2 lead in the first set. An attack into the net by Washington U. brought St. Benedict to within five at 11-6, but the Bears scored the next three points to regain an eight-point lead. After another attacking error by the Bears made it 17-13 in their favor, Washington U. went on a 6-1 run that included two kills by Sheredy and an ace by Juriga to make it 23-15. A kill by Nelligan gave the Bears their first set-point opportunity at 24-17, but St. Benedict answered with a kill before a serving error by the Blazers gave Washington U. the 25-18 win.

In the second set, the teams played evenly to a 10-9 lead for Washington U., before a 5-0 run by the Bears, including two aces by Wang, gave them a 15-9 advantage. Washington U. continued to hold the lead and an ace by Katagiri made it 23-14. St. Benedict responded with a 10-1 run to tie the score at 24-24, but a serving error gave Washington U. the side-out and set-point opportunity. The Bears capitalized and Zastrow got a kill to end the set 26-24 and give the Bears a 2-0 lead in the match.

St. Benedict took an early lead in the third set, only to have Dupont and Palucki team up for a block to tie it at 9-9. The Blazers scored the next four points to take a 13-9 lead and force Washington U. to call timeout. The Bears pulled to within one (15-14) after a hit by Sheredy bounced off the block and out of bounds, but St. Benedict held on and scored the final four points of the set to win 25-19. St. Benedict scored the first four points of the fourth set and maintained the lead until an attack by the Blazers went long to tie the score at 24-24. Dupont got a kill on a quick set by Wang to give the Bears their first lead of the set at 25-24 and a chance at match-point. A kill by the Blazers tied the score again, and Dupont got another kill to give the Bears a 26-25 lead and a second match-point opportunity. St. Benedict tied the score with a kill, then scored the final two points of the set on an attack error by the Bears and a kill, to send the match to a fifth set.

Washington U. hit .171 (61-26-205) in the match, while St. Benedict finished with a .126 (58-31-215) attack percentage, including -.053 (4-5-19) in the fifth set. Both teams played great defense, with the Bears tallying a season-high 111 digs and eight blocks, while the Blazers finished with 104 digs and six blocks. Both teams also finished with nine service aces in the match.

Nelligan led all players by equaling her career-high with 18 kills, while hitting .429 (18-3-35), and also finished with four blocks. Udenze tallied 12 kills for her 10th double-digit kills performance of the season, and also recorded seven digs and three blocks. Sheredy notched her 16th career double-double with 12 kills, a career-high 20 digs and three aces. Wang finished with 30 assists and also had a season-best 20 digs, while Juriga got the second double-double of her career with 21 assists and 12 digs. Katagiri just missed a double-double with 27 digs and a career-high nine assists, while Yung also had 12 digs in the win.

Bear Notebook:  Washington U. leads the all-time series against Heidelberg 4-0 and against St. Benedict 10-0 … The Bears earned a three-set win over Heidelberg Sept. 13 at the Wittenberg Fall Classic … WUSTL improved to 3-1 against ranked opponents this season with the win over St. Benedict … The Bears are now 10-0 this season when winning the first two sets of a match … Sheredy surpassed the 500-kill and 500-dig marks during Friday's matches, and now has 513 career kills and 515 career digs … Dupont also surpassed 500 career kills, bringing her total to 510.