No. 7 Bears Finish UAA Round Robin with Wins Over Case, Carnegie

No. 7 Bears Finish UAA Round Robin with Wins Over Case, Carnegie

Chicago, Ill., Oct. 19, 2014 – The No. 7-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team earned a 25-7, 25-16, 25-17 sweep over Case Western Reserve University, before finishing the second UAA Round Robin with a 25-21, 17-25, 25-19, 27-25 win over Carnegie Mellon University Sunday afternoon.

Washington U. improved to 27-4 overall and 6-1 in the UAA with the wins. The Bears tied with No. 3 Emory University atop the conference standings, but Washington U.'s win over the Eagles Saturday gave the Bears the No. 1 seed at the UAA Championship tournament which will be held Friday-Saturday, Nov. 7-8 in Pittsburgh.

Washington U. returns to action Friday-Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, when it hosts the Bears Invitational. The Bears take on Westminster College (Mo.) and Transylvania University on Senior Night at the WU Field House on Halloween.

#7 Washington U. 3, Case 0

The Bears came out hot in the first set, hitting .615 (18-2-26) to cruise to a 25-7 win. Junior Allison Zastrow had four kills on her first five attacks to help Washington U. build a quick 11-2 lead. The Bears stretched the lead to 21-4 after a 9-0 run that included three kills by junior Nkiru Udenze and two each by junior Jackie Nelligan and sophomore Amanda Palucki. The Spartans were unable to put together consecutive points until a serving error by the Bears and a block made it 21-6 in favor of Washington U. The Bears scored their final four points on kills by Palucki, Udenze and sophomore Caroline Dupont to win 25-7.

In set two, the Bears used an early 6-0 run to build a 9-3 lead after a kill off the block by sophomore Alex Sheredy. The Spartans pulled to within 10-5, but a quick kill by Nelligan sparked a 5-0 run that pushed the lead to 15-5. The closest Case got the rest of the match with seven points, but Sheredy got a kill and ended the set with an ace serve as the Bears won 25-16.

Washington U. again built an early lead in the third set, but a kill by Case made it 10-6 in favor of the Bears. A block by Sheredy and Nelligan started a 5-0 run that also included a pair of aces by Sheredy to make it 15-6. Washington U. stretched the lead to 22-9, but four attacking errors by the Bears allowed Case to make a 7-1 run and close the gap to 23-16. A block by Dupont and freshman Emily Richardson gave the Bears a match-point opportunity. After a blocking error was called against the Bears, Sheredy got a kill to end the match with a 25-17 set-three win.

Washington U. finished with a .344 (45-14-90) attacking percentage in the match, compared with .069 (21-15-87) hitting for Case. The Bears also had nine service aces, including three each by Sheredy and senior Lindsay Juriga. Palucki had nine kills on 10 swings to hit .900 and lead the Bears offensively in the win. Sheredy and Udenze also finished with nine kills apiece. Juriga tallied 16 assists and six digs, while Zastrow had 14 assists, seven digs and six kills. Sophomore Kalehua Katagiri totaled 12 digs and seven assists.

#7 Washington U. 3, Carnegie Mellon 1

The Bears came out strong offensively against Carnegie Mellon in the first set, building a 12-6 lead after back-to-back kills by Palucki. The Tartans rallied to cut the lead to one on four different occasions, but Washington U. had an answer each time, and Palucki's sixth kill of the set, followed by a kill off the block by Zastrow made the score 23-20 in favor of the Bears. After taking a timeout, Carnegie Mellon got a kill to fall on the back line, but a serving error and an attack into the antenna by the Tartans gave Washington U. the 25-21 win in the opening set.

In the second set, the teams battled back and forth until kills by Udenze and Dupont gave Washington U. a 12-10 lead. The Tartans took advantage of four attacking errors by the Bears and served a pair of aces as they made an 11-2 run to turn the deficit into a 21-14 advantage. The Bears got to within five, but Carnegie Mellon got a kill and its fourth ace serve of the set to win 25-17 and even the match score. The teams played evenly again to start the third set, but Sheredy got a kill on a roll shot to the corner to tie the score at 12-12 and spark a 9-0 run by the Bears. Zastrow served the run for the Bears, which also included three kills and a pair of blocks by Nelligan. The Tartans battled back and an ace serve cut the Bears' lead to 23-19, but Palucki got back-to-back kills to finish the set 25-19 in favor of Washington U.

Carnegie Mellon took advantage of eight errors by the Bears to take a 13-7 lead in the fourth set. A kill down the line by Udenze and a tip by Zastrow brought Washington U. to within two, but the Tartans extended their lead back to six at 17-11. A roll shot by Sheredy sparked a 6-0 run for the Bears, and another kill by Sheredy followed by a solo block by Nelligan tied the score at 17-17. The teams traded points to a 19-19 tie, but back-to-back errors by the Bears gave Carnegie Mellon a two-point advantage again. After a block by the Tartans made it 22-20, Udenze got an off-speed shot to fall for a kill and Zastrow followed with a kill to tie the score again at 22-22. A kill and a block gave Carnegie Mellon its first set-point opportunity at 24-22. The Tartans' next serve hit the net and Sheredy powered a kill through the block to tie the score at 24-24. After taking a timeout, Carnegie Mellon got a kill down the line to give the Tartans their third set-point opportunity of the set. A kill by Sheredy, followed by an attacking error by the Tartans gave Washington U. its first lead of the set at 26-25. On match point, Palucki pushed a kill through the Carnegie Mellon block to seal the 27-25 win for the Bears.  

Washington U. hit .193 (62-29-171) in the match, and was above .300 hitting in the first and third sets. Carnegie Mellon finished with a .121 (40-22-149) attack percentage in the match, and had eight ace serves. The Bears finished with a 10-8 block advantage, including seven blocks for Washington U. in the final two sets.

Zastrow posted a triple-double to lead the Bears with a career-high 14 kills and season-highs of 28 assists and 15 digs. Palucki hit .320 and added a career-high 13 kills, and Nelligan finished with 12 kills and eight blocks while hitting .370. Sheredy had a double-double of 10 kills and 12 digs while also recording four blocks, and Juriga also finished with a double-double of 23 assists and a career-high 16 digs. Katagiri led five players with double-digit digs for the Bears, tallying 17 digs and seven assists, while senior Lauren Yung finished with 11 digs.

Bear Notebook:  Washington U. leads the all-time series against Case Western Reserve 39-1 … The Bears improved to 47-2 all-time against Carnegie Mellon … The Tartans had won 13 of their last 14 matches prior to the loss to Washington U. … The Bears are 10-0 this season when leading after three sets … Washington U.'s two wins brought head coach Vanessa Walby to 190 career victories … The Bears have won seven straight matches … Zastrow's triple-double against Carnegie Mellon was the first by a Washington U. player since Lauren Budde had a triple-double against Dominican University (Ill.) Oct. 29, 2010 … Katagiri has posted double-digit digs in each of the last 13 matches, and is 16 digs shy of 10th on Washington U.'s all-time single-season list.