Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 18, 2015 – The No. 6-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team earned wins over two top-10 opponents Friday afternoon at the Emory National Invitational. The Bears rallied for a five-set victory over No. 10 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in the first match of the day, before battling to a sweep of No. 2 Calvin College 35 minutes later.
WashU improved to 12-0 on the season with the two victories. The Bears finish play in the Emory National Invitational by facing No. 9 California Lutheran University at Noon (ET) and Wheaton College (Ill.) at 2 p.m. (ET) Saturday.
WashU def. No. 10 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 25-22, 20-25, 23-25, 25-20, 15-10
After struggling offensively and falling behind 2-1 in the match, WashU came alive midway through the fourth set against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Athenas jumped out to a 14-8 lead early in set four, but senior Nkiru Udenze smashed a kill down the line to spark a 9-0 run for WashU with senior Allison Zastrow serving, turning the deficit into a 17-14 lead. An attack into the net by WashU brought C-M-S within 20-19, but the Bears won the next four points and junior Caroline Dupont put away a kill to give WashU the 25-20 win and force set five.
In the fifth set, the Bears jumped out to a 4-1 lead behind three attacking errors by the Athenas. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps rallied to within a point and the teams traded points to a 9-8 lead for the Bears. Zastrow got a kill that sparked a 5-1 run for the Bears to give them match-point at 14-9. The Athenas fought off one match point, but a kill by junior Rexi Sheredy ended the match as WashU won 15-10.
WashU fell behind early in the first set against C-M-S, but the Bears went on a 7-0 run, including three kills by Udenze, to take a 20-17 lead. WashU didn't look back from there, winning 25-22. The Athenas again jumped out to the lead in set two. WashU rallied to within 19-17, but Claremont-Mudd-Scripps went on to win 25-20 to even the match at one set apiece. The teams played evenly in the third set, and a kill by Dupont made it 21-20 in favor of WashU, but C-M-S scored three straight points before holding on to win 25-23.
WashU finished with .180 attacking (64-30-189) in the match, while C-M-S hit .154 (56-29-175). Dupont led the Bears with 15 kills. Udenze notched a double-double with 13 kills and 21 digs. Sheredy also finished with 13 kills and nine digs, while senior Jackie Nelligan tallied 12 kills and six blocks. Zastrow also posted a double-double with 49 assists and 15 digs, while sophomore Lauren Fournier added 14 digs.
WashU def No. 2 Calvin 25-22, 29-27, 27-25
The Bears fell behind against Calvin early in the first set, but a 4-0 run with Sheredy serving tied the score at 13-13. A kill by Dupont gave WashU a 19-18 advantage, and an ace by Dupont followed by a kill by Nelligan made it 21-18 and forced a timeout by Calvin. After the Knights cut the lead to 21-20, Udenze got a kill from the back row. The teams traded points until back-to-back points by Udenze and Dupont gave WashU the 25-22 win the opening set.
The teams played evenly in the second set, but WashU put together a pair of runs to take a 19-13 lead. The Bears maintained the lead and a serve for Calvin sailed long to give WashU set-point at 24-19. The Knights rattled off six straight points to get their own set-point at 25-24, but junior Amanda Palucki got kills on two set-point opportunities for Calvin to tie the match at 26-26. A block by Dupont and Palucki made it 27-26 in favor of the Bears, before Calvin tied again. Palucki came through with another kill and Dupont hammered a shot down the line to give WashU the 29-27 win in set two.
The Bears came out flat in the third set, and Calvin built a quick 10-2 lead. WashU chipped away at the lead and pulled to within two at 20-18 on a kill by Udenze. After calling timeout, the Knights got back-to-back points to make it 22-18 before getting a 23-19 lead. Calvin had back-to-back attacking errors, before Dupont and Sheredy teamed up for a block and Sheredy put down a kill off an overpass to tie the score at 23-23. The Bears battled through set-points for Calvin at 24-23 and 25-24, with a sharp angle kill by Sheredy tying the score at 25-25. Nelligan and Sheredy then got a block to give the Bears a match-point opportunity and the Knights sent the ball out of bounds to end the match as WashU rallied to win set three 29-27.
WashU hit .240 as a team (48-19-121), while Calvin finished with .226 attacking (43-15-124). Palucki led WashU with 11 kills and three blocks while hitting .409 (11-2-22). Sheredy and Udenze added 10 kills each, with Udenze also tallying 11 digs. Fournier led the Bears defensively with 13 digs, and Zastrow finished with 39 assists and nine digs. Dupont had nine kills without an error while hitting .450 (9-0-20), and Nelligan chipped in with eight kills and a .375 attacking percentage (8-2-16).
Bear Notebook: WashU improved to 3-0 against ranked teams this season … The Bears are now 1-0 all-time against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and 9-1 against Calvin … WashU has won the first set in 11 of 12 matches this season … Nelligan brought her career blocks total to 353, passing Amy Sullivan (1991-93) for 10th on WashU's all-time leaderboard … Zastrow's 88 assists on the day brought her career total to 1,609, moving her into 10th on the Bears' all-time leaderboard … Udenze has recorded double-doubles of kills and digs in six of the last seven matches … Sheredy has recorded double-digit kills in 40 career matches.