Naperville, Ill., Oct. 10, 2015 – Senior Jackie Nelligan became the 24th player in school history to surpass 1,000 career kills and the No. 1-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team put together its two best offensive matches of the season to earn victories over Saint Mary's University (Minn.) and Coe College Saturday at the North Central College Tiffany Robinson Memorial Tournament.
Nelligan finished the weekend with 1,019 kills in her career, moving her into 23rd on WashU's all-time career kills leaderboard. WashU swept Saint Mary's and earned a four-set win over Coe to extend its winning streak to 10 matches and improve to 22-1 on the season. Saint Mary's ended the weekend with a 16-7 record, while Coe dropped to 15-10.
WashU returns to action with four matches at the second University Athletic Association (UAA) Round Robin Saturday-Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio. The Bears face No. 3 Emory University and Brandeis University Saturday, before taking on host and No. 24 Case Western Reserve University and Carnegie Mellon University Sunday. WashU and Emory enter the week atop the UAA standings with 3-0 records after the first UAA Round Robin.
No. 1 WashU def. Saint Mary's University (Minn.) 25-10, 25-19, 25-11
WashU hit a blistering .473 as a team with just five attacking errors in the sweep of Saint Mary's Saturday morning. The Bears jumped out to a quick 7-1 lead and extended it to seven points (12-5) on a kill by senior Allison Zastrow. After back-to-back points by Saint Mary's made it 12-7, junior Rexi Sheredy got a kill to spark an 11-2 run for the Bears as they opened up a 23-9 advantage on a solo block by Nelligan. After a side-out by the Cardinals, junior Amanda Palucki tipped for a kill and senior Nkiru Udenze hit a kill off the block to give the Bears the 25-10 win. WashU finished the set with 15 kills and no errors, hitting at a .577 clip.
In set two, Udenze hammered five early kills to help WashU build a quick 9-3 lead. The Cardinals chipped away at the lead, and a 7-1 run gave them a 15-12 advantage. Palucki got a kill to stop the run and Sheredy served the next six points, including three aces, to regain a 19-15 advantage for the Bears. After a side-out by Saint Marys, Nelligan got a kill and WashU won the next three points to extend its lead to 23-16. A kill by junior Caroline Dupont off an overpass by the Cardinals gave WashU the 25-19 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Bears grabbed a four-point lead early in set three on an ace by Nelligan, but Saint Mary's cut the deficit to 9-7 with a kill. After a service error by the Cardinals, WashU got back-to-back blocks as part of a 7-1 run that also included a pair of kills by Sheredy to extend the lead to 16-8. Another 6-0 run for WashU late in the set extended the Bears' lead to 23-10, and freshman Savannah Zhang put away a kill on match point as WashU won set three 25-11.
In addition to their monster hitting percentage (.473), the Bears also out-blocked Saint Mary's 8-1. Sheredy led WashU with 11 kills, nine digs and three aces, while Nelligan added 10 kills and seven blocks, including a season-high three solo stops. Zastrow recorded a double-double with 33 assists and 13 digs, and freshman Natalie Stephanus tallied a team-high 16 digs. Dupont finished with eight kills on 10 attacks for a .800 percentage, while Sheredy was also without an error, hitting .647.
No. 1 WashU def. Coe 25-18, 25-10, 27-29, 25-22
Coe took the early lead in the opening set, and back-to-back points gave the Kohawks a 16-12 lead. Nelligan put away a kill and Sheredy served the next four points as WashU turned the deficit into a 17-16 lead. Coe tied the score, before a block by Dupont and Udenze gave the Bears the lead back for good in the set. An ace by Udenze and a kill by Dupont finished the set as WashU won 25-18.
WashU dominated the second set, hitting .591 (14-1-22) to just .037 (9-8-27) for the Kohawks. A kill down the line by Palucki gave the Bears a 7-2 lead. Coe cut the WashU lead to three on four occasions, including a kill that made it 13-10 in favor of the Bears. A kill by Palucki gave WashU a side-out, and Sheredy served the final 11 points of the set as WashU finished with the 25-10 win.
Coe bounced back to take an 11-7 lead in the third set, and maintained the advantage to a 17-13 advantage. A pair of kills each by Palucki and Udenze were part of a 6-1 run that gave WashU a 19-18 lead. After Coe scored three straight points to regain a 21-19 advantage, Sheredy got three kills in a row to again give the lead back to the Bears (22-21). Each team had two set-point opportunities before Coe got back-to-back kills to win the set 29-27 and force a fourth set.
The Bears took a 9-5 lead in set four to force a Coe timeout, but the Kohawks answered with a 6-1 run that gave them an 11-10 lead. WashU pulled even three times before back-to-back kills by Dupont and Udenze, followed by an ace from Palucki, gave the Bears an 18-16 edge. The Kohawks regained the lead at 21-20, but Sheredy tipped for a kill and Palucki split the block to give the Bears the lead back. Palucki got another kill down the line after a big defensive play by Udenze to make it 23-21 in favor of WashU. After a side-out by Coe, Sheredy got a kill and Nelligan put away an overpass on match point as the Bears won 25-22 in set four.
WashU hit .393 in the match, its second-best single-match hitting percentage this season, while Coe finished with .235 attacking. Udenze had a career match for the Bears, leading the way with career-bests of 18 kills and 17 digs, while also recording three blocks. Sheredy finished with 13 kills and 11 digs, while Dupont added 12 kills and Palucki totaled 10. Zastrow tallied 58 assists and 10 digs for her fourth double-double of the weekend.
Bear Notebook: WashU improved to 2-0 all-time against Saint Mary's and 1-1 against Coe … The Bears and Kohakws met for the first time since 1986 … WashU is 18-0 this season when winning the first set … Nelligan had 10 blocks in the Bears' two matches Saturday, bringing her career total to 396 and passing Lisa Becker (1989-92) for eighth on WashU's all-time list … Nelligan also moved up to fourth on the Bears' career block assists list with 328, passing Emilie Walk (2004-06) and Katie Quinn (2000-03) … Udenze's double-double against Coe was her 10th of the season … Nelligan has tallied double-digit kills in 35 career matches … Dupont and Sheredy are both close to joining Nelligan in the 1,000-kill club as Dupont finished the weekend with 964 career kills and Sheredy reached 950 … Sheredy is also 22 digs shy of 1,000 for her career.