St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 1, 2014 – The No. 5-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team put together two of its best offensive performances of the season to earn a pair of sweeps over Hendrix College (25-20, 25-18, 25-12) and No. 19 Millikin University (25-18, 25-19, 25-22) in the regular-season finale Saturday at the WU Field House.
Washington U. won its final 11 matches of the regular season to finish with a 31-4 overall record. The Bears travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., for the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship Friday-Saturday, Nov. 7-8. As the No. 1 seed, Washington U. will take on Brandeis University at Noon (ET) Friday in the quarterfinal.
Sophomore Alex Sheredy and junior Jackie Nelligan were named to the all-tournament team. They were joined by Jade Becker of Millikin, Kayla Reeg of Westminster College (Mo.), Erin Romito of Transylvania, and Bradi Ryan of Hendrix.
#5 Washington U. 3, Hendrix 0
Washington U. built a 5-1 lead to start the first set behind a pair of kills by Sheredy and an ace serve on the back line by senior Lauren Yung. The Bears maintained at least a three-point advantage through a 17-14 lead, before kills by Nelligan, sophomore Amanda Palucki and Sheredy to push the lead to 20-15. The teams traded points the remainder of the set, before a kill down the line by Nelligan gave Washington U. the 25-20 win. The Bears hit a blistering .577 (16-1-26) in the opening set.
In set two, the teams played to a 6-6 tie before a kill by Nelligan sparked a 6-0 run by the Bears behind the serving of sophomore Kalehua Katagiri. Palucki played a key role in the run, tallying two kills and teaming with sophomore Caroline Dupont for a block. The Warriors rallied to cut the deficit to three at 16-13, before kills by junior Allison Zastrow and Nelligan, and a block by Nelligan and Sheredy extended the lead to 19-13. Hendrix again got to within three, but Washington U. pulled away to win the set 25-18.
Washington U. again grabbed an early 5-1 lead in the third set, including a pair of kills by Dupont and an ace by Yung. The Bears stretched their lead to 9-3 after two kills by Sheredy and another by Palucki. A kill by Hendrix brought the Warriors to within 12-7, but Washington U. went on a 7-1 run to make it 19-8 in favor of the Bears, before winning the set 25-12 after back-to-back attacking errors by Hendrix.
Washington U. hit a season-best .398 (47-10-93) in the match, while Hendrix finished with a .150 (28-13-100) hitting percentage. Sheredy led the Bears with 14 kills and 11 digs, while hitting .458. Junior Nkiru Udenze added eight kills, while Nelligan finished with seven kills and a .500 hitting percentage. Senior Lindsay Juriga had a team-high 24 assists, while Zastrow finished with 13 assists, a team-high 12 digs and five kills. Katagiri added 11 digs and eight assists, and Yung recorded six digs and four ace serves.
#5 Washington U. 3, #19 Millikin 0
The Bears started hot offensively, finishing the first set with a .536 (17-2-28) hitting percentage. The teams played back and forth through much of the set and a serve out of bounds by Washington U. tied the score at 17-17. Millikin served the next ball long to give Washington U. a side-out and the Bears went on a 6-0 run to take control of the set and build a 23-17 lead. The run included five points served by Yung and a pair of kills by Sheredy. After a side-out by Millikin, Dupont got a kill off an overpass and a Millikin attack sailed long to give the Bears the 25-18 win. Sheredy and Dupont each had five kills on six attacks to lead the Bears in the set, and Washington U. out-dug the Big Blue 17-7.
Millikin took an early 9-7 lead on Washington U. in the second set, but a serve by the Big Blue went long to start an 8-1 run for the Bears that made the score 15-10 in favor of Washington U. Zastrow asserted herself in the run, recording a pair of kills and teaming with Dupont for a block. The Bears stretched their lead to 19-13 after a block by Nelligan and Palucki and a kill by Dupont. After taking a timeout, Millikin scored three straight points, including back-to-back blocks, to pull to within 19-16. A kill by Palucki gave the Bears a side-out and an attack by Millikin hit the antenna. The Big Blue again cut the lead to three at 21-18, but Washington U. scored four of the last five points to win the set 25-19. Zastrow finished the set with five kills and six assists to lead Washington U.
The teams traded leads to a 7-6 advantage for Millikin to start set three. Nelligan tooled the block for a kill to tie the score, and Washington U. went on a 6-0 run, capped by back-to-back aces by Sheredy, to build a 12-7 lead. Millikin rallied to within 13-11, but a serve into the net ended the rally. Dupont got a solo block and a kill, and Udenze hit a cross-court shot for a kill to quickly stretch the Bears' lead to 17-11. Washington U. extended the lead to 19-12 when Sheredy powered a kill through the block, but Millikin answered with three straight points to get to within 19-15. Washington U. had three of its four errors in the set in the final 10 points of the set, allowing Millikin to get to within two points, but a kill by Udenze finished the match and sealed the 25-22 win for the Bears.
Washington U. finished with a .387 (46-10-93) hitting percentage in the match, while Millikin hit .196 (39-17-112). The Bears also out-blocked Millikin 8-3 in the match. Zastrow finished one kill shy of her second triple-double of the season, tallying nine kills, 15 assists and 10 digs. Sheredy and Dupont also totaled nine kills in the match for the Bears. Juriga had a match-high 25 assists and six digs, and Katagiri led the Bears defensively with 12 digs.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. improved to 13-1 at home this season … It was the first-ever meeting between Washington U. and Hendrix … Washington U. leads the all-time series against Millikin 9-3, winning each of the last nine meetings … This marks the 28th season in program history that Washington U. has recorded 30 or more wins … Katagiri moved up to No. 6 on Washington U.'s all-time single-season digs list with 578 … Sheredy tallied 51 kills and a .424 (51-9-99) hitting percentage in the Bears' four wins over the weekend … Katagiri tallied double-digit digs in 31 of the Bears' 35 matches this season, including each of the last 17.