No. 9 Bears Remain Unbeaten With Three Wins Saturday

No. 9 Bears Remain Unbeaten With Three Wins Saturday

St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 5, 2015 – The No. 9-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team won three matches at the ASICS Invitational Saturday to improve to 6-0 on the season.

The Bears earned a sweep against Knox College, before winning a pair of four-set matches against Hanover College and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to finish the tournament. Senior Jackie Nelligan and juniors Caroline Dupont and Amanda Palucki were each named to the all-tournament team, joining Cara Howell of North Central College, Jessie Koster of University of Dallas, Emily McLendon of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and Lexi Thiel and Mandy Trautmann of UW-Oshkosh.

WashU def. Knox: 25-10, 26-24, 25-10

The Bears built an early 13-9 lead in the first set against Knox, before a kill by junior Rexi Sheredy gave the Bears a side-out. Dupont then served the next seven points, including three aces, to extend the lead to 21-9. WashU finished with a 25-10 win in the opening set, hitting .591 (15-2-22) as a team.

The Bears trailed much of the second set, and a kill off an overpass gave Knox a 23-17 lead. Freshman Ifeoma Ufondu tooled the block to spark a 3-0 run that cut the deficit to 23-20, but Knox got a side-out after a timeout. WashU fought off four set-point opportunities for the Prairie Fire, including a rally on the Bears' 22nd point that included a big dig by junior Corey Salzer to keep the set alive. Senior Nkiru Udenze got a kill to tie the score at 24-24, and another kill by Udenze gave the Bears the lead, before senior Allison Zastrow finished the set with a kill. WashU built a quick 7-1 lead with Zastrow serving to start the third set, and Nelligan served another 6-0 run for the Bears before getting a kill to end the set with a 25-10 win for WashU.

WashU hit .316 (46-16-95) as a team, while limiting Knox to .093 (17-10-75) attacking in the match. Nelligan and Udenze had a team-high 11 kills each, and Zastrow finished with 32 assists, five kills and a team-high seven digs. 

WashU def. Hanover: 25-20, 25-19, 21-25, 25-17

WashU and Hanover traded leads in the first set, and a service error by the Bears made it 19-17 in favor of WashU. Sheredy hit back-to-back kills and a Hanover attacking error gave WashU a 22-17 advantage. The Panthers pulled to within 23-20, before a block by Nelligan and Palucki, and a kill by Nelligan ended the set. Hanover built an early lead in the second set, but the Bears rallied to tie at 9-9. After trading points to an 11-10 lead for the Panthers, Sheredy got a kill, then served four straight points, including back-to-back aces, to give WashU a 15-11 lead. The Bears stretched the lead to as many as six points, and finished with a 25-19 win to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Hanover led throughout the third set, building an early 8-4 lead and maintaining the advantage until a setter dump by Zastrow brought WashU within 19-17. The Panthers answered with a 4-0 run to take their largest lead at 23-17. WashU fought off three set-point opportunities for Hanover, before the Panthers were able to finish the set with a 25-21 win. The Bears led from start to finish in the fourth set as they sealed the match victory. WashU took an early 6-2 lead. Hanover answered with three straight points to get to within 6-5, but the Bears maintained the lead. Palucki came alive midway through the set, pounding six kills to account for six straight points for the Bears as WashU extended its lead to 20-11. Hanover went on a 4-0 run, but Palucki ended it by dropping a tip over the block for a kill, and WashU went on to finish the match with a 25-17 win in the fourth set.

WashU hit .231 (57-24-143) in the match, and Hanover finished with .177 (38-16-124) attacking. Nelligan and Udenze had 12 kills each to lead the Bears offensively, Palucki finished with 11 kills, five digs and four blocks. She had eight kills on nine attacks in the fourth set. Sheredy added 10 kills and nine digs. Zastrow had her first double-double of the season with 44 assists and 16 digs, while sophomore Lauren Fournier added 11 digs. 

WashU def. UW-Oshkosh: 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20

Kills by Udenze and Zastrow, and an ace serve by freshman Natalie Stephanus helped the Bears jump out to a 9-4 lead over UW-Oshkosh in the first set. The Titans rallied to within one at 15-14, but WashU answered with four of the next five points, including a pair of kills and an ace by Udenze, to make it 19-15 in favor of the Bears. WashU got a set-point opportunity at 24-19, but UW-Oshkosh got a side-out before Nelligan and Palucki teamed up for a block to give the Bears a 25-20.

In the second set, UW-Oshkosh took the early lead, and built a 21-14 advantage before Dupont got a kill to spark a 7-0 run for the Bears. Stephanus served the next six points that included four attacking errors by the Titans and a pair of kills by Udenze to tie the set at 21-21. After a UW-Oshkosh timeout, WashU was whistled for a ball-handling error. Dupont followed with a kill off the block, and the teams traded attacking errors to a 23-23 tie, before UW-Oshkosh got a block and a kill to win the set 25-23.

Zastrow served an ace to start the third set, but UW-Oshkosh rattled off six straight points to take a 6-1 lead. The Bears answered with a 5-0 run to tie it at 6-6, and the teams continued to traded leads to an 18-18 tie. Udenze hammered a kill down the line, and Sheredy tooled the block with a tip to give WashU a 20-18 lead. A roll shot by Sheredy gave the Bears set-point at 24-21, but the Titans were able to get to within 24-23, before an emphatic kill by Palucki ended the set with a 25-23 win for WashU.

In the fourth set, UW-Oshkosh led early and a service error by the Bears gave the Titans a 14-11 advantage. A kill by Dupont gave WashU a side-out and Stephanus served the next five points as WashU turned the deficit into a 17-14 lead. After a side-out by UW-Oshkosh, the Bears went on a 4-1 run that included three kills by Dupont to extend their lead to 21-16. Nelligan ended the match with a kill as WashU won the fourth set 25-20.

WashU finished with .225 (63-24-173) hitting as a team, while UW-Oshkosh hit .172 (45-19-151). Five Bears finished with double-digit kills, led by Udenze and Dupont with 14 each. Udenze also tallied 12 digs to post the first double-double of her career. Nelligan recorded 12 kills, while Sheredy and Palucki added 10 kills each. Sheredy added a career-high 22 digs to lead the Bears defensively. Zastrow also had with a double-double with a career-high 54 assists and 10 digs. Fournier (14) and Stephanus (10) also both had career-high dig totals in the match.

Bear Notebook: WashU improved to 3-0 all-time against Knox, 5-0 against Hanover and 13-0 against UW-Oshkosh … The Bears are 5-0 at the WU Field House this season, and 20-2 at home in the past two seasons … Nelligan brought her career block assists total to 274, passing Erin Albers (2006-09) for eighth on WashU's all-time career leaderboard.