No. 8 Volleyball Reaches 10 Wins with Victories Over Cornell, Hendrix

No. 8 Volleyball Reaches 10 Wins with Victories Over Cornell, Hendrix

St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 12, 2015 – The No. 8-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team earned a sweep against Cornell College and rallied from two sets down to defeat Hendrix College in five sets on the second day of the Baden Invitational Saturday at the WU Field House.

The Bears improved to 10-0 with the wins. Seniors Jackie Nelligan and Nkiru Udenze each received Baden Invitational all-tournament honors. They were joined on the all-tournament team by Brenna Bruil of Whitworth University, Karen Chin of Carthage College, Sara Dyslin of Hendrix, Hannah Nimrick of Elmhurst College, Faith Rolwes of DePauw University and Jade Schaap of Buena Vista University.

WashU travels to Atlanta for four matches at the Emory National Invitational Friday-Saturday, Sept. 18-19. The Bears will face No. 11 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges and No. 2 Calvin College Friday, before taking on No. 10 California Lutheran University and Wheaton College (Ill.) Saturday.

WashU def. Cornell 25-20, 25-18, 25-17

A kill by junior Caroline Dupont gave WashU an early 11-6 lead over Cornell in the opening set, but the Rams used a 6-0 run to take a 12-11 lead. With Cornell leading 16-14, the Rams served a ball into the net to give WashU a side-out. Junior Amanda Palucki and Nelligan notched kills, and junior Rexi Sheredy served an ace to turn the two-point deficit into an 18-14 lead for the Bears. Cornell tied the score again at 19-19, WashU finished the set with a 6-1 run, capped by a block by Dupont and senior Allison Zastrow, to win 25-20. Dupont and Nelligan combined for eight kills on nine attacks in the opening set.

WashU held a two-point advantage early in the second set, before using a 7-1 run to build a 14-6 advantage. The closest Cornell got the remainder of the set was a six-point deficit, and a kill by Nelligan ended the set with a 25-18 win for the Bears. In the third set, WashU built an 8-4 lead after a kill from the back row by senior Anna Bryniarski. The Bears maintained the advantage, and back-to-back kills by Dupont extended the lead to 17-10. Cornell got to within five with an ace serve that made it 22-17, but kills by freshman Julianne Malek and senior Nkiru Udenze, and an attacking error by the Rams ended the match with a 25-17 third-set win for the Bears.

WashU hit .355 (46-13-93) in the match, compared with .130 (27-15-92) attacking for Cornell. Dupont finished with a team-high 11 kills on 15 attacks for a .733 attacking percentage. She also had five digs and a team-high five blocks. Nelligan added 10 kills aon 13 attacks, while hitting .692. Zastrow tallied 35 assists and a team-best 11 digs, while freshman Natalie Stephanus added seven digs.

WashU def. Hendrix 18-25, 26-28, 25-13, 25-21, 16-14

After dropping the first two sets against Hendrix, WashU led wire-to-wire in the third and fourth sets to force a decisive fifth set. Nelligan and Sheredy got back-to-back kills to start set five, but Hendrix answered with two kills. Sheredy then got a kill and an ace serve to again give WashU the lead. After a serving error by the Bears, Udenze and Nelligan got a block, and Palucki and Dupont followed with another block. Udenze then tooled the block for a kill to make it 7-3 in favor of the Bears. Hendrix answered with three straight points, including a pair of attacking errors by WashU, but Dupont got a kill to give the Bears an 8-6 lead as the teams switched sides. Hendrix came back with four unanswered points to take a 10-8 lead, but served the next ball into the net to give WashU a side-out. Dupont and Stephanus got back-to-back kills to take the lead and Sheredy put away an overpass by the Warriors to make it 12-10 WashU. Hendrix got a side-out after taking a timeout, before Dupont tooled the block to give WashU a 13-11 advantage. The Bears had back-to-back attacking errors to tie the score at 13-13, before Sheredy hammered a kill to give WashU set-point. Hendrix again pulled even, but a kill from the back row by Udenze and an attack by the Warriors that sailed long gave WashU the 16-14 victory to seal the come-from-behind win in the match.

WashU was unable to get its offensive attack going in the first set against Hendrix. The Bears took advantage of six service errors by the Warriors to grab a 14-13 lead, but a string of four straight errors by WashU helped Hendrix make an 8-1 run to take a 21-15 lead. Six points was as close as the Bears could get the remainder of the set as Hendrix earned a 25-18 win.

In the second set, a serving error by Hendrix gave WashU a 16-14 lead, but three attacking errors by the Bears and an ace by the Warriors helped Hendrix turn the deficit into a 19-16 lead. The Warriors got a set-point opportunity at 24-20, but their ensuing serve went into the net. Zastrow and Dupont got kills, before back-to-back kills by Sheredy gave the Bears a 25-24 lead. WashU had another set-point opportunity at 26-25 after a kill by Dupont, but Hendrix got a side-out and WashU had back-to-back attacking errors to give the Warriors the 28-26 win and a 2-0 advantage in the match.

The Bears jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the third set, and built a 17-9 advantage on an error by Hendrix. The Warriors cut the deficit to 19-13, but WashU scored the final six points of the set, including a pair of aces by Udenze, to win 25-13. The Bears again took the lead in the third set. Palucki made the play of the match when she chased down a ball before hitting the bleachers then came back to join Dupont for a kill that made it 6-4 in favor of the Bears. WashU later used a 10-2 run that included three kills and two blocks by Sheredy to take a commanding 19-9 lead. After the Bears made it 22-13, Hendrix scored five of the next six points to get to within 23-18. Dupont tipped the ball over the block for a kill to give WashU set-point, but a serving error and back-to-back attacking errors made it 24-21 before Dupont fired a kill to end the set.

WashU finished with .195 attacking (69-30-200), while Hendrix hit .180 (54-20-189). The Bears also had 10 blocks, including six in the final two sets. Dupont led the Bears with a season-high 17 kills, while also tallying five blocks. Nelligan added 15 kills while hitting .452, including seven kills on seven attacks in the third set. Sheredy notched a double-double with a season-high 14 kills and 17 digs, while Udenze finished with her fourth double-double of the season with 11 kills and a career-high 26 digs. Zastrow also recorded a double-double with a career-high 56 assists and a season-best 18 digs. Sophomore Lauren Fournier also topped the 20-dig mark for the first time in her career with 20 digs in the match.

Bear Notebook: WashU improved to 4-0 all-time against Cornell and 3-0 against Hendrix … Hendrix's 9-8 lead in the fifth set was the Warriors first lead since winning set two in the match … The Bears are now 9-0 at home this season and 477-51 (.903) all-time at the WU Field House … Nelligan brought her career block assists total to 286, passing Cindy McPeak (2000-03) for seventh on WashU's all-time career leaderboard … Zastrow went over 1,500 career assists, and is now 12 assists shy of entering WashU's all-time career leaderboard … Dupont has now had double-digit kills in 45 career matches for the Bears … Nelligan passed the 900 career kills mark, bringing her career total to 903, while Dupont (823) and Sheredy (809) both passed 800 career kills … Zastrow played in her 119th and 120th career matches for the Bears.