Fulton, Mo., Oct. 20, 2015 – Washington University in St. Louis juniors Rexi Sheredy and Caroline Dupont became the 25th and 26th players in program history to reach 1,000 career kills as the No. 3-ranked Bears earned an 18-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-21 win at Westminster College Tuesday evening.
Sheredy's 1,000th kill came on the first point of set three. After passing 1,000 career digs over the weekend, the milestone kill made her just the ninth player in WashU history to reach 1,000 in both kills and digs. Dupont became the third WashU player this season to join the 1,000-kill club with a termination in the fourth set.
The Bears struggled to get in a rhythm in the opening set as Westminster's serving kept WashU off balance. The Blue Jays jumped out to a 12-6 lead behind three service aces and four attacking errors by the Bears. Westminster stretched the lead to 17-8 before the Bears climbed back to within 19-16 on a kill by senior Nkiru Udenze, but the Blue Jays finished the set with a 6-2 run that included four errors by WashU to take set one 25-18.
WashU took advantage of eight early errors by Westminster to build a 13-7 lead in set two on an ace serve by Dupont. After Westminster pulled to within 14-11 on an ace, senior Jackie Nelligan got a quick kill then teamed with junior Amanda Palucki for a block. An ace by Sheredy and a kill by Udenze stretched the lead to 18-11 for WashU. An ace by Palucki gave the Bears their largest lead at 22-13 and the teams traded points until Sheredy's 999th career kill ended the set with a 25-16 win for WashU.
The Bears scored the first four points of the fourth set, including a pair of kills by Sheredy. Westminster cut the lead to 11-10 with a kill, but WashU answered with a 6-1 run that quickly made it 17-11 in favor of the Bears. After seven straight side-outs, Nelligan and senior Allison Zastrow teamed up for a block that sparked a 4-0 run to give the Bears set-point at 24-15. After two kills and an ace brought Westminster within 24-18, Sheredy tooled the block for a kill to end the set.
In set four, WashU used a 7-1 run to build a 15-5 lead. The Blue Jays chipped away at the lead and a 3-0 run made it 23-19 in favor of the Bears, before a kill by Palucki gave WashU match-point. After a missed serve by WashU, Westminster got an ace to make it 24-21, but Palucki ended the match with a kill to seal the win for the Bears.
WashU hit just .183 in the match, including .345 in the fourth set, while Westminster hit .116 for the match. The Bears out-blocked Westminster 9-3, but surrendered a season-high 11 aces to the Blue Jays. Sheredy led WashU with 13 kills and three aces, while Palucki finished with 11 kills, nine digs and four blocks. Udenze added 10 kills and six digs, while Nelligan was part of seven of the Bears' nine blocks. Zastrow recorded a double-double with 40 assists and 10 digs, while sophomore Lauren Fournier led WashU defensively with 16 digs.
WashU improved to 26-2 overall with the win, while Westminster had its 11-match win streak snapped to fall to 17-6. The Bears return to action with two matches Friday, Oct. 23, at the Linda Slagell Dig for the Cure Classic hosted by Millikin University. WashU faces Central College (Iowa) at 6 p.m., before taking on host Millikin at 8 in Decatur, Ill.
Bear Notebook: WashU improved to 12-0 all-time against Westminster … Nelligan brought her career kills total to 1,050, moving into a tie for 21st with Erin Albers (2006-09) on WashU's all-time leaderboard … Sheredy has had at least one ace in 23 of 28 matches this season, including 11 aces in the Bears' last four matches … Nelligan also passed Jennifer Martz (1995-98) for third on the career block assists list (355), and moved past Katie Quinn (2000-03) for sixth on the total career blocks leaderboard (426) … Udenze has now tallied double-digit kills in 40 career matches.