St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 15, 2014 – The No. 7-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team battled to the NCAA Division III Regional Championship match with a 27-25, 25-19, 21-25, 18-25, 16-14 win over Hendrix College in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night at the WU Field House.
Washington U. improved to 35-5 overall with the win, while Hendrix finished its season with a 31-6 record. The Bears will face conference rival and No. 5 Emory University in the Regional Championship at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16.
Washington U. battled to a hard-fought win in set one 27-25, and won the second set 25-19 to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Hendrix bounced back to win set three 25-21 and earned a 25-18 win in set four to force the decisive fifth set. In the fifth set, Hendrix took a 3-1 lead after back-to-back kills by freshman middle hitter Sara Dyslin, but the ensuing serve sailed just wide of the sideline to give Washington U. a side-out. Sophomore Alex Sheredy and junior Allison Zastrow followed with kills to make it 4-3 in favor of the Bears, but a serve into the net brought the Warriors even at 4-4.
Zastrow blasted a kill down the line and Sheredy and junior Jackie Nelligan teamed up for a block to give the Bears a 6-4 lead. A tip by Hendrix found the sideline, but a kill by Nelligan and an attacking error by Hendrix gave Washington U. an 8-5 advantage as the teams traded sides. Nelligan tipped over the block for a kill to make it 9-5 in favor of the Bears. Hendrix cut the deficit to two, but the teams traded points and a serve wide by the Warriors made it 13-10 in favor of the Bears. Washington U.'s serve sailed long and Dyslin got her 15th kill of the match to make it 13-12 and force a timeout by Washington U. An attack by the Bears went long to tie the score at 13-13, but Nelligan got a quick kill to give the Bears a match-point opportunity. The Bears had another attacking error to again tie the score at 14-14, but an attack by Hendrix sailed long on the next point to make it 15-14. On the Bears' second match-point opportunity, Nelligan and sophomore Amanda Palucki teamed up for a big block on Hendrix outside hitter MC Rogers to seal the 16-14 win for the Bears.
Washington U. finished with a .148 hitting percentage in the match. The Bears hit .200 or better in the three sets they won and below .100 in the third and fourth sets. Hendrix finished with a .183 hitting percentage. The Warriors also finished with 14 kills, while Washington U. had nine. Defense was a key factor for the Bears, who finished with 75 digs in the match.
Sheredy led four players in double figures with 13 kills and nine digs, while junior Nkiru Udenze tallied 12 kills. Zastrow posted a double-double with 11 kills and 21 assists to go with her seven digs, two aces and two blocks. Nelligan added 10 kills and six blocks. Senior Lindsay Juriga dished out a team-high 24 assists and also had six digs. Sophomore Kalehua Katagiri led the Bears with 25 digs, while senior Lauren Yung tallied 13.
Rogers finished with 17 kills and 17 digs to lead Hendrix, while Dyslin had 15 kills and seven blocks, including 10 kills and three blocks in the final two sets.
Bear Notebook: The Bears improved to 28-0 this season when winning the first two sets … It was the sixth five-set match for Washington U. this season, and the Bears are 5-1 in those matches … Washington U. is 96-18 all-time in the NCAA Tournament … The Bears earned a three-set win over Hendrix Nov. 1… Washington U. is 468-50 at home since 1985, including a 15-1 record at the WU Field House this season … Nelligan moved into a tie for sixth with Nikki Morrison (2006) on Washington U.'s single-season block assists list with 116 … She also brought her career block assists total to 259, which moved her past Megan Houck's 256 (2002-05) for ninth on the Bears' all-time leaderboard … It was the 11th time this season that Katagiri has topped the 20-dig mark in a match.