Pittsburgh, Pa., Nov. 8, 2014 – The No. 5-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team earned a 26-24, 25-18, 25-18 win over Carnegie Mellon University to claim third place at the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship tournament Saturday morning.
With the win, Washington U. improved to 33-5 overall. The Bears will await an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship, which will be announced during the NCAA Selection Show at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 10, on NCAA.com.
Washington U. and Carnegie Mellon battled back-and-forth throughout the first set. Back-to-back blocks and an ace serve gave the Tartans a 12-8 lead and forced Washington U. to call a timeout. A serve into the net by Carnegie Mellon gave the Bears a side-out, and kills by sophomores Alex Sheredy and Caroline Dupont, along with a solo block by Dupont, tied the score at 12-12. After a kill by Carnegie Mellon, Dupont notched her fourth kill of the set and junior Allison Zastrow tipped over the block for a kill to make it 14-13 in favor of the Bears. Dupont then served an ace and Zastrow hammered a sharp kill off an overpass by the Tartans to extend the Bears' lead to 16-13.
Carnegie Mellon rallied to tie at 16-16, before being whistled for being in the net on a joust. A kill by sophomore Amanda Palucki and an ace serve by Zastrow made it 19-16 Washington U. The Bears held a 22-21 lead after junior Nkiru Udenze hustled for a dig that dropped on Carnegie Mellon's side of the net for a kill, but a kill by the Tartans and back-to-back errors by the Bears gave Carnegie Mellon a set-point opportunity at 24-22. The Tartans hit a ball just wide of the sideline on the next point and Sheredy tooled the block to tie the score at 24-24. After a Carnegie Mellon timeout, Sheredy and Dupont put away back-to-back kills as the Bears rallied for the 26-24 win in set one.
The Bears came out firing in the second set, tallying 10 kills on their first 20 attacks to build an 11-4 lead. The Tartans rallied to within 17-13 after back-to-back attacking errors by the Bears, but the Bears scored four of the next five points to make it 21-14 and force Carnegie Mellon to call its second timeout. The teams traded points until the Tartans cut the lead to 23-18, but Sheredy got a tip to fall for a kill and Zastrow served an ace down the sideline to give the Bears the 25-18 win in set two. Zastrow accounted for seven of the Bears' 21 kills in the set.
A cross-court kill by Sheredy found the sideline to help the Bears build an early 4-2 lead in set three, but Carnegie Mellon got a kill and back-to-back blocks to take a 5-4 lead, its first lead since the first set. Washington U. regained the lead, 6-5, on a tip by Nelligan and a ball-handling error against the Tartans. After trading points to a 7-7 tie, Nelligan got a kill off the block and Udenze hit a kill down the line to make it 9-7 in favor of the Bears. After a side-out by Carnegie Mellon, Washington U. went on an 8-2 run that included two kills each by Zastrow and Sheredy to stretch the lead to 17-10. Kills by Sheredy and Palucki extended the Bears' lead to as many as nine points (21-12). The Tartans battled through two match-point opportunities for the Bears, but Zastrow's 15th kill of the match gave Washington U. the 25-18 win in set three.
Washington U. hit .308 (55-19-117) in the match, while limiting Carnegie Mellon to a .194 (31-11-103) attack percentage. The Bears also tallied five ace serves to the Tartans' one, and out-dug Carnegie Mellon 52-33. The Tartans used an 8-3 block advantage to keep them in the match defensively.
Zastrow just missed her second triple-double of the season, finishing with a career-high 15 kills, 15 assists and nine digs, while hitting at a .542 (15-2-24) clip. Sheredy also had a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs. Udenze tallied nine kills, and Dupont added eight kills while hitting .500 (8-1-14). Nelligan chipped in with seven kills. Juriga recorded a career-high 29 assists and nine digs, and sophomore Kalehua Katagiri led the Bears defensively with 17 digs, including eight in the first set.
Bear Notebook: The Bears improved to 116-9 all-time in the UAA Championship tournament … Washington U. leads the all-time series against Carnegie Mellon 47-2, and earned a four-set win over the Tartans at the second UAA Round Robin Oct. 19 … This was a rematch of the third-place match from last year's UAA Championship, which Carnegie Mellon won in five sets … Katagiri brought her dig total to 612 for the season, passing Laura Brazeal (596) and Nicole Hodgman (606) for third on Washington U.'s all-time single-season list.