No. 8 Bears Split Matches Against No. 9 Elmhurst, No. 6 Juniata

No. 8 Bears Split Matches Against No. 9 Elmhurst, No. 6 Juniata

Elmhurst, Ill., Oct. 10, 2014 – After falling to host and No. 9-ranked Elmhurst College 24-26, 23-25, 25-23, 21-25, the No. 8 Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team rallied for a 19-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-21 win over No. 6 Juniata College Friday night at the Elmhurst Invite III.

Washington U. (21-4) finishes the Elmhurst Invite III by taking on No. 12 University of St. Thomas at Noon Saturday, followed by a match against Simpson College at 2 p.m.

#9 Elmhurst 3, #8 Washington U. 1

The Bluejays used five blocks to win the first set 26-24. Elmhurst grabbed an early 10-6 lead in the opening set, but a kill by junior Nkiru Udenze sparked a 6-0 run for the Bears that gave them a 12-10 lead. Washington U. maintained the lead to an 18-14 advantage after kills by sophomore Alex Sheredy and sophomore Amanda Palucki. The Bluejays scored the next three points to cut the lead to 18-17, but a service error by Elmhurst gave the Bears a side-out and a back-row kill by Sheredy pushed the lead back to three. After a kill by Udenze through the block gave Washington U. a 21-18 lead, the Bluejays used back-to-back blocks to tie the score at 21-21. Another serving error gave the Bears the lead back and a kill by sophomore Caroline Dupont made it 23-21. After taking a timeout, Elmhurst scored three points to get a set-point opportunity at 24-23, but Dupont tooled the block for a kill to tie it again at 24-24. After a kill by Elmhurst, the Bears were whistled for a ball-handling error on set-point to give the Bluejays a 26-24 win.

A pair of aces by Dupont helped Washington U. take an early 6-4 lead in set two. After a pair of errors by the Bears tied the score at 6-6, Washington U. went on a 4-1 run that included aces by senior Lindsay Juriga and Sheredy to make it 10-7. The Bluejays regained the lead with a 6-0 run, before back-to-back kills by Udenze and a ball-handling error on the Bluejays tied the score at 13-13. The teams traded leads to a 21-19 advantage for Elmhurst, but a serve into the net gave Washington U. a side-out and back-to-back kills off overpasses by junior Jackie Nelligan made it 22-21 in favor of the Bears. The Bluejays scored the next three points to get a set-point opportunity, before getting a block to win the set 25-23 and take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Junior Allison Zastrow tallied six kills for the Bears in the third set, including four in the Bears' first seven points of the set. The teams played back-and-forth until Elmhurst took a 21-17 lead. Udenze powered back-to-back kills through the block and sophomore Kalehua Katagiri got an ace to make it 21-20. An attacking error by Elmhurst tied the score at 21-21. The teams traded points until a kill by Zastrow made it 23-23. A block by Zastrow and Dupont gave the Bears set-point and Zastrow hit a sharp kill to win the set 25-23.

Washington U. took the early lead in the fourth set and Zastrow tooled the block to give the Bears a 12-9 lead. The Bluejays took advantage of three errors by Washington U. to go on a 6-1 run and take a 15-13 lead. The Bears cut the lead to 18-16 after an attack by Elmhurst sailed wide, but the Bluejays scored three of their next four points off attacking errors by the Bears to extend the lead to 22-17. After Elmhurst's ninth serving error, the Bluejays had back-to-back attacking errors to bring the Bears to within 22-20. A kill by Elmhurst and an attacking error Washington U. gave the Bluejays a match-point opportunity. Udenze got a kill through the block to make it 24-21, but Elmhurst finished the match with a kill.

Washingotn U. hit .151 (52-28-159) in the match, while Elmhurst finished with a .188 (51-22-154) attacking error. The Bears were whistled for nine ball-handling errors in the match, and were out-blocked 10-4 in the match. Udenze had a team-high 13 kills and seven digs. Dupont finished with 11 kills, two blocks and three ace serves, and Zastrow added 10 kills, six assists, four digs and two blocks. Junior Cassie Wang finished with a team-high 26 assists and eight digs, while Juriga added 11 assists and five digs. Katagiri tallied a match-high 20 digs, while Sheredy (12) and senior Lauren Yung (10) also added double-digit digs. 

#8 Washington U. 3, #6 Juniata 1

Washington U. used a 5-0 run early in the first set to grab an 8-6 lead, but Juniata got back-to-back blocks and an ace serve to take a 9-8 lead. The teams traded points to five ties before a serving error by the Bears and an ace by Juniata gave the Eagles a 17-15 lead. After a kill by Zastrow down the line, Juniata scored the next three points, including its fifth ace of the set, to extend the lead to 20-16. Washington U. pulled to within 21-19 on an attacking error by Juniata, but the Eagles scored the final four points of the set to finish with the 25-19 win.

An early 5-0 run for Juniata helped the Eagles build a 9-3 lead in the second set. They stretched the lead to 13-5 on an attacking error by Washington U. The teams traded points until Nelligan got a kill and Juriga dropped an ace in the middle of the court to cut the lead to 18-13. After a side-out for Juniata, the Eagles served into the net, then hit the antenna on an attack to bring Washington U. to within 19-16. Juniata notched its sixth block of the set and used a blocking error by the Bears to make it 21-16. Udenze hit a line shot to give the Bears a side-out, and Katagiri served the final eight points of the set as Washington U. rallied for the 25-21 win. The final 9-0 run for the Bears included three kills by Udenze, two kills by Palucki and a pair of blocks by Palucki and Dupont.

Udenze asserted herself in the third set, finishing with seven kills while hitting .700 in the set. Katagiri also came up big for the Bears defensively, tallying nine digs in the set. An attacking out of bounds by the Bears gave Juniata an early 9-7 lead in the third set, before a kill down the line by Udenze started a 6-0 run behind Katagiri's serving to give Washington U. the 13-9 lead. The run included two kills by Udenze, one each by Palucki and Dupont, and a block by Palucki and Dupont. Washington U. stretched its lead to 15-10 after back-to-back kills by Udenze, and the Bears maintained the lead throughout the rest of the set, before a roll shot by Sheredy gave them a 25-20 win and a 2-1 lead in the match.

In set four, the teams played to a 10-10 tie before Dupont got a kill, then served five straight points, including her team-leading 26th ace of the season, to make it 16-10 in favor of the Bears. The run also included a block by Sheredy and Nelligan, and another by Zastrow and Nelligan. After a serve into the net by Juniata extended the Bears' lead to 18-12, the Eagles went on a 4-0 run to pull to within 18-16 on an ace serve. After a timeout by the Bears, Nelligan found a hole in the middle of the court for a kill to give the Bears a side-out. A kill by Dupont made it 21-17 in favor of Washington U., but the Bears' eighth serving error of the match gave Juniata a side-out and the Eagles got a block and an ace serve to cut the lead to 21-20. Washington U. took a timeout, then got a side-out when the ensuing Juniata serve sailed long. Zastrow got a kill on an off-speed shot to make it 23-20, but Juniata's 14th block of the match again made it a two-point Washington U. lead. A kill by Dupont off a quick set by Wang gave the Bears a match-point opportunity and Nelligan and Zastrow teamed up for a kill to seal the 25-21 win for Washington U.

Washington U. hit .207 (56-28-135) in the match, while limiting Juniata to a .125 (42-25-136) attack percentage. The Bears also had a 57-39 dig advantage in the match, while Juniata finished with a 14-10 edge in blocking. Udenze equaled her season-high with 14 kills to lead the Bears offensively. Nelligan and Dupont added 10 kills and five blocks each, including a .533 attack percentage for Dupont. Sheredy added eight kills and 10 digs, while Palucki totaled eight kills and equaled her career-high with four blocks. Juriga had a team-high 25 assists and eight digs, while Wang finished with 22 assists and four digs. Katagiri had her second 20-plus dig performance of the day, tallying a match-high 22.

Bear Notebook:  Elmhurst leads the all-time series against Washington U. 10-7 and has won the last four meetings between the two teams … Washington U. leads the all-time series against Juniata 21-14 … The Bears are 5-2 against ranked teams this season and 30-15 against ranked opponents since the 2011 season … Katagiri has now recorded 20 or more digs in nine different matches this season.