Cleveland, Ohio, Oct. 17, 2015 – The top-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team came up short in a five-set loss to No. 3 Emory University Saturday, before earning a sweep of Brandeis University at the second University Athletic Association (UAA) Round Robin being held at Case Western Reserve University.
The Bears finished the day with a 23-2 overall record and a 4-1 mark in the UAA. Emory enters the final day of round-robin play with a 24-2 overall record and a 5-0 conference record, while Brandeis dropped to 3-18 overall and 0-5 in the UAA.
WashU plays a pair of matches Sunday on the final day of the UAA Round Robin. The Bears face host Case (20-4, 4-1 UAA) at Noon (ET), followed by a match against Carnegie Mellon University (21-4, 3-2 UAA) at 2 p.m. WashU and Case are tied for second in the UAA standings, while Carnegie Mellon is right behind them in fourth.
No. 3 Emory def. No. 1 WashU 23-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-20, 15-8
WashU came out firing to start the match, jumping out to a 7-2 lead in the first set before Emory rallied to tie at 7-7. With the score tied 10-10, kills by senior Jackie Nelligan, junior Rexi Sheredy and senior Nkiru Udenze gave the Bears a three-point cushion and all the separation they would need. WashU stretched the lead to 20-15 on a kill by junior Amanda Palucki, but the Eagles rallied to cut the lead to one on four different occasions, including a kill that made it 24-23. Palucki hammered her sixth kill of the set to give the Bears the 25-23 win.
In set two, WashU again jumped out to an early lead, with a block by junior Caroline Dupont and Udenze making it 8-2 in favor of WashU. Emory cut the lead to four (16-12), but a serving error gave the Bears a side-out and sparked a 5-1 run that included an ace and a kill from the back row by Palucki to extend WashU's lead to 21-13. After a serving error by the Bears made it 23-17, Nelligan and senior Allison Zastrow teamed up for a block, and another kill by Palucki finished the set with a 25-17 win for the Bears.
Emory got its offense on track in the third set, and took advantage of eight unforced errors by WashU to build a 16-8 lead. After taking a timeout, the Bears scored four straight points to pull to within 16-12 on a kill by Udenze. Trailing 23-18, Sheredy and Nelligan got a block, but the Bears' fourth serving error of the set gave Emory a 24-19 lead. WashU fought off three set-points and a tip over the block for Palucki brought WashU within 24-22, but the Eagles got a kill to end the set with a 25-22 win.
In the fourth set, Emory built a 17-12 lead before WashU answered with four straight points, including three kills by Udenze, to get to within 17-16. An ace by the Eagles extended their lead to 20-17, but Zastrow won a joust at the net and Sheredy rolled a kill deep to end a long rally. A block by Dupont and Zastrow pulled the Bears even at 20-20, but Emory won the final five points of the set to finish with the 25-20 win and force the fifth set.
The Bears were hampered by errors in the fifth set, with Emory building a 10-6 lead despite having just two kills. A kill by Dupont and an attacking error by the Eagles brought WashU within 10-8, but Emory finished with four kills and an ace to win the match.
WashU hit .198 in the match, compared with .199 attacking for Emory. Serving was a key difference in the game, as WashU missed 14 serves, while Emory missed just five. Palucki, Sheredy and Udenze led the Bears with 13 kills each, while Nelligan tallied 11 and Dupont finished with nine. Palucki and Udenze also had 13 digs each, while freshman Natalie Stephanus finished with 11 and Sheredy added 10. Nelligan finished with a season-high eight blocks for the Bears. Zastrow totaled 52 assists and nine digs.
No. 1 WashU def. Brandeis 25-13, 25-10, 25-13
WashU rebounded from its loss to Emory by earning a quick sweep of Brandeis. The Bears hit .427 in the match, including kills by eight different players. WashU hit .619 in the opening set, including five kills on seven attacks by Udenze. With WashU holding a 9-5 lead, Udenze got a kill to spark a 7-1 run that extended the Bears' lead to 16-6 on a kill by Nelligan. Brandeis was unable to get closer than seven the remainder of the set as WashU won 25-13.
After Brandeis pulled to within 15-9 on an attacking error by the Bears, Palucki got a kill, then freshman Loren Shin served six straight points to give WashU a 22-9 lead. Kills by freshman Ifeoma Ufondu and Palucki made it set-point and an error by Brandeis gave the Bears the 25-10 win. In the third set, Brandeis tied the score at 11-11 with an ace, but freshmen Savannah Zhang and Julianne Malek got a block to give WashU a side-out as the Bears finished the set with a 14-2 run that included a seven-point serving run by senior Anna Bryniarski.
Udenze led the Bears with 10 kills, while Sheredy added nine. Palucki finished with eight kills, while Ufondu tallied seven, and Nelligan chipped in with six kills and six blocks. Zastrow totaled 23 assists, while Zhang added 10. Shin led the Bears defensively with eight digs.
Bear Notebook: WashU is 48-11 all-time against Emory, including a 24-9 mark in UAA play … The Bears improved to 40-0 all-time against Brandeis, including sweeps in 10 of the last 11 matches between the two teams … Nelligan's 17 kills on the day brought her career total to 1,037, passing Whitney Smith (2003-06) for 22nd on WashU's all-time leaderboard … Udenze passed 900 career kills, with her 23 kills on the day bringing her career total to 906.