No. 8 WashU Tops DePauw, No. 14 Elmhurst at Baden Invite

No. 8 WashU Tops DePauw, No. 14 Elmhurst at Baden Invite

St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 11, 2015 – The No. 8-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team remained unbeaten with a pair of four-set wins over DePauw University and No. 14 Elmhurst College Friday night at the Baden Invitational.

The Bears improved to 8-0 with the wins. WashU finishes the Baden Invite by taking on Cornell College at Noon and Hendrix College at 2 p.m. Saturday.

WashU def. DePauw 25-10, 27-29, 25-16, 25-18

WashU recorded six kills on its first nine attacks to jump out to a 7-3 lead over DePauw in the opening set. The Bears stretched the lead to 18-7 behind a 7-0 run that included three ace serves by senior Nkiru Udenze. The Tigers got a block to make it 21-10, before the Bears scored the final four points of the set to win 25-10.

In the second set, the teams traded leads, but an ace by senior Jackie Nelligan gave WashU a 20-15 advantage. After two points by DePauw, a serve into the net gave the Bears a side-out and junior Rexi Sheredy got a kill from the back row to make it 22-17. The Tigers answered with a 5-0 run to tie the score. Junior Caroline Dupont tooled the block for a kill to give WashU a set-point opportunity at 24-23. The Bears missed another serve at 27-26, and DePauw got a block and an attacking error by WashU to take set two 29-27.

DePauw took an early lead in set three, but a serving error by the Tigers, followed by back-to-back kills by Nelligan and junior Amanda Palucki gave the Bears the lead for good at 9-7. WashU's offense was on fire throughout the set, and a quick kill by Dupont gave the Bears the 25-16 win. WashU hit .410 (17-1-39) in the set, including five kills on six attacks for Nelligan. The Bears scored the first six points of the fourth set and never looked back en route to a 25-18 victory that sealed the match.

As a team, WashU hit .262 (59-17-160) while limiting DePauw to .101 (40-25-148) attacking. The Bears also had a season-high 10 ace serves. Nelligan led the Bears with a season-high 17 kills on .531 attacking (17-0-32), while also finishing with seven digs and five blocks. Dupont added 13 kills on .417 attacking (13-3-24), while Udenze posted a double-double with 10 kills and a career-best 18 digs. Sophomore Lauren Fournier also had a career-high 18 digs, while Sheredy finished with 17 digs, eight kills and three ace serves. Senior Allison Zastrow tallied 51 assists and seven digs in the match.

WashU def. #14 Elmhurst 25-19, 20-25, 25-17, 25-17

WashU came out hot offensively against Elmhurst, finishing the first set with a .467 attacking percentage (16-2-30). A block by Nelligan and Palucki gave the Bears an early 6-1 lead and a kill by Dupont off an overpass pushed it to 8-2 and forced a timeout by Elmhurst. The Bluejays rallied to within 10-7, but Dupont put away a kill on a quick attack and Sheredy finished a long rally with a kill to spark a 7-2 run that opened up a 17-9 lead for the Bears. After an ace by Nelligan gave the Bears a 19-10 advantage, Elmhurst's Hannah Nimrick had three straight kills to force a timeout by WashU. The Bluejays pulled within four, but back-to-back errors gave the Bears a set-point opportunity at 24-18. Nimrick got her ninth kill of the set, before Nelligan put away the set with a kill that gave WashU the 25-19 win.

The teams played evenly in the second set until a kill by Dupont on a quick set by Zastrow made it 17-14 in favor of the Bears. Elmhurst then went on a 10-1 run to turn the deficit into a 24-17 advantage. The Bears fought off two set-points, before Elmhurst finished with the 25-20 win to even the match at one set apiece.

Palucki asserted herself in the third set, finishing with six kills to lead the Bears. WashU held a slim 14-13 advantage until back-to-back kills by Nelligan and Palucki forced a timeout by Elmhurst. After the timeout, the Bluejays hit the ball long and Nelligan followed with an ace to push WashU's lead to 18-13. Elmhurst pulled to within 18-15, but Palucki split the block for a kill, and an attacking error by Elmhurst followed by a kill by Zastrow made it 21-15 in favor of WashU. The Bluejays got a block to get to within 22-17, but Sheredy hit a roll shot to fall for a kill and an attack by Elmhurst went long to give the Bears set-point. After a long rally that included two huge digs by Dupont, freshman Natalie Stephanus fired a kill from the back row to end the set at 25-17. 

In the fourth set, WashU jumped out to a 6-1 lead and maintained the lead until an attacking error by the Bears brought Elmhurst to within 18-15. Dupont hit a quick kill on the sideline and Udenze got a kill from the back row to make it 20-15. After a side-out by the Bluejays, Zastrow pushed a kill deep to the corner and Sheredy and Udenze got a pair of kills each as WashU won 25-17 to seal the match.

WashU hit .270 (54-17-137) in the match, compared with .138 (49-27-159) for Elmhurst. The Bears limited the Bluejays to below .100 hitting in each of the final two sets. Palucki led WashU offensively with 13 kills, while Dupont finished with 11 kills and seven digs. Udenze posted her third straight double-double with 10 kills and 14 digs. Zastrow filled the stat sheet with 43 assists, nine digs, five kills and three blocks. Sheredy had nine kills and 15 digs, while Fournier (12) and Stephanus (11) both finished with double-digit digs as well.

Bear Notebook: WashU improved to 12-0 all-time against DePauw and 8-10 against Elmhurst … The win over Elmhurst snapped a four-match win streak for the Bluejays in the series … WashU is 475-51 (.903) at home since 1985 … Nelligan had seven block assists to bring her career total to 281, passing Cindy McPeak (2000-03) for seventh on WashU's all-time career leaderboard.