No. 1 Bears Top No. 11 Carthage, Loras to Reach 20 Wins

No. 1 Bears Top No. 11 Carthage, Loras to Reach 20 Wins

Naperville, Ill., Oct. 9, 2015 – The No. 1-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team overcame a two sets to none deficit to earn a five-set win over No. 11 Carthage College, then rallied for a four-set win over Loras College Friday evening at the North Central College Tiffany Robinson Memorial Tournament. 

WashU improved to 20-1 overall with the two wins. Carthage dropped to 17-4 with the loss to the Bears, while Loras finished the day with a 12-10 record overall. WashU concludes the tournament with a pair of matches Saturday. The Bears take on Saint Mary's University of Minnesota at 11 a.m. before finishing the tournament with a 3 p.m. match against Coe College.

No. 1 WashU def. No. 11 Carthage 21-25, 16-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-10

After battling back from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set, WashU traded points with Carthage to a 5-4 lead for the Lady Reds in the decisive set. A serve by Carthage sailed long to even the score at 5-5, and the Bears took advantage with a 6-0 run to take a 10-5 lead on a roll shot by junior Rexi Sheredy. The Lady Reds got back-to-back points to cut the lead to three, but a kill by junior Caroline Dupont gave the Bears a side-out. The teams then traded points to a 12-9 advantage for the Bears. An attack by Carthage landed wide and junior Amanda Palucki dropped in a tip for a kill to give WashU match point at 14-9. The Lady Reds got a side-out, but senior Jackie Nelligan put away the match-winning kill to give the Bears the 15-10 fifth-set win.

After winning the first set 25-21, Carthage used a 9-2 run midway through the second set to win 25-16 and take a 2-0 lead over the Bears in the match. In set three, the two teams battled to a 14-14 tie. A serve by the Lady Reds sailed long to spark a 4-2 run for WashU that put the gave the Bears a three-point cushion. The Lady Reds pulled to within 20-19, but Sheredy got a tip to fall for a kill and Nelligan tooled the block to make it 22-19 and force a Carthage timeout. An attack by the Lady Reds went long and senior Nkiru Udenze tooled the block to give WashU set-point at 24-19. The Lady Reds scored the next three points, forcing WashU to call a timeout. On the Bears' fourth set-point opportunity, Udenze split the block to give WashU the 25-22 win and force a fourth set.

In set four, Carthage jumped out to an 11-7 lead. Back-to-back kills by Nelligan cut the deficit to two, and a block by Nelligan and Udenze brought the Bears to within 12-11. After aside-out by Carthage, Udenze got a pair of kills and Dupont tipped for a kill to give the Bears a 14-13 lead. Carthage regained the lead at 18-17, before a kill by Nelligan sparked a 4-0 run for WashU. Palucki had two big kills in the run that also included a block by Nelligan and Sheredy, giving the Bears a 21-18 lead. The Lady Reds cut the lead to 22-21, but Palucki tooled the block for a kill. The Lady Reds answered with a point to again make it a one-point match. After a timeout by the Bears, Dupont hammered two quick kills to finish the set with a 25-22 victory for WashU, forcing the decisive fifth set.  

WashU hit .254 in the match, while Carthage finished with .284 attacking. The Bears hit above .300 in the final two sets, including .320 (11-3-25) in the fifth set, while limiting the Lady Reds to .120 (6-3-25) attacking in the final set.

Palucki finished with career-highs of 16 kills and 13 digs to lead the Bears. Udenze also posted a double-double with 15 kills and 13 digs, while Dupont tallied 14 kills and Nelligan added 12 kills and six blocks. Senior Allison Zastrow had a career-high 61 assists and 11 digs. Sheredy led the Bears defensively with 15 digs, while freshman Natalie Stephanus added 10.

No. 1 WashU def. Loras 23-25, 25-14, 25-20, 26-24

WashU went on a 7-0 run midway through the opening set to take a 16-12 lead, and an ace by Sheredy made it 18-15 in favor of the Bears. Loras answered with an 8-0 run that included four attacking errors by WashU to take a 23-18 lead. The Duhawks got a set-point opportunity at 24-19, and WashU answered with four straight kills, including two by Udenze, to make it 24-23, before a kill by Loras gave the Duhawks the 25-23 win in set one.

The Bears got back on track in the second set, jumping out to a 9-3 lead and extending it to as many as 12 points at 18-6 on a kill from the back row by senior Anna Bryniarski. With the Bears leading 23-14, a Loras serving error gave WashU set-point and Dupont served an ace to even the match at one set apiece.

WashU scored the first four points of the third set and never trailed in the set. The Bears got their largest lead of the set at 22-15 on a kill by Udenze. Another kill by Udenze gave WashU set-point at 24-17. Back-to-back attacking errors by the Bears and a kill by Loras brought the Duhawks within 24-20, but Dupont put away a kill to end the set at 25-20 and give the Bears a 2-1 lead in the match.

Loras took advantage of five early errors by the Bears to build a 12-4 lead in set four. WashU chipped away at the lead, pulling to within 15-14 on a kill by Palucki. The Duhawks got a kill after calling timeout and maintained the lead. An attacking error by the Bears made it 23-20 in favor of the Duhawks, but a kill by Sheredy, an attacking error by Loras and a block by Sheredy and Nelligan tied the score at 23-23. Another error by Loras gave the Bears match-point at 24-23, but the Duhawks got a kill to tie. An attacking error by the Duhawks again gave WashU match-point, and Nelligan and Udenze teamed up for a block to end the match with a 26-24 set-four win. 

WashU hit .209 in the match, compared with .114 attacking by the Duhawks. Palucki led the Bears with 13 kills, while Udenze added 12 kills and 18 digs. Sheredy also posted a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs, while Zastrow tallied 47 assists and a season-high 19 digs. Stephanus, who made her first career start at libero for the Bears, recorded a career-high 24 digs. Nelligan and Dupont added eight kills each, and Nelligan was part of all six of the Bears' blocks in the match, finishing with one solo and five assists.

Bear Notebook: WashU leads the all-time series against Carthage 7-1 … The Bears are 2-0 all-time against Loras … With the win over Carthage, WashU improved to 6-1 against ranked opponents this season … The win over Carthage also marked the second time this season the Bears have rallied from a 0-2 deficit to win in five sets (Hendrix, Sept. 12).