Decatur, Ill., Oct. 23, 2015 – The No. 3-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team had to play past 25 points in two sets, but came away with a pair of three-set wins over Central College (Iowa) and Millikin University Friday night at the Linda Slagell Dig for the Cure Classic hosted by Millikin.
WashU improved to 28-2 overall with the two wins. Central (13-15) and Millikin (19-10) also both lost to No. 19 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Friday. The Bears close out their regular-season schedule by hosting Webster University at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. Prior to the match, WashU will honor its four seniors – Anna Bryniarski, Jackie Nelligan, Nkiru Udenze and Allison Zastrow. It will also be Dig for Pink Night at the WU Field House.
No. 3 WashU def. Central 28-26, 25-21, 25-18
WashU jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the opening set, but Central answered with a 10-3 run to take an 11-8 lead. The Dutch stretched the lead to 16-12, before back-to-back attacking errors brought WashU within 16-14. An ace by Nelligan and a block by Udenze and junior Caroline Dupont tied the score at 16-16. Central took the lead again and maintained the advantage until a kill by Nelligan tied it at 23-23. Junior Rexi Sheredy hit a kill off the top of the block to give the Bears a set-point opportunity. The teams traded points until a tip by junior Amanda Palucki and an attack into the net by Central gave WashU the 28-26 win.
The Bears built an early lead again in set two, only to have Central pull even at 8-8. After another tie at 9-9, WashU went on a 7-2 run to open up a five-point advantage at 16-11 on an attacking error by the Dutch. Central closed to within three at 22-19, but kills by Udenze and Sheredy gave WashU set-point and Dupont tooled the block to end the set with a 25-21 win for the Bears. In set three, WashU jumped out to an 11-5 lead after a kill by Udenze. After Central cut the lead to 12-7, the Dutch had a serve sail long and WashU won the next three points with a kill by Sheredy, an attacking error by Central and an ace by Sheredy to make it 16-7 in favor of WashU. A kill by Nelligan gave WashU match-point at 24-15. The Dutch fought off three set-point opportunities, but freshman Julianne Malek hit a kill off the block to end the match with a 25-18 set-three win for the Bears.
WashU hit .164 in the match to .058 for the Dutch. Sheredy led the Bears with 11 kills, nine digs and two aces. Zastrow registered a double-double with 30 assists and 10 digs, while freshman Natalie Stephanus also finished with 10 digs.
No. 3 WashU def. Millikin 25-17, 25-15, 27-25
WashU pulled away midway through the first set and a kill from the back row by Sheredy gave the Bears a 15-8 lead. Millikin battled back to within 18-14, but a kill by Dupont ended the Big Blue run. Sheredy put away a kill to make it 23-16 in favor of the Bears, and an attacking error by Central followed by an ace by Sheredy ended the set. WashU again pulled away midway through set two, and a kill by Dupont made it 21-12 in favor of the Bears. Another kill by Dupont gave WashU a 23-15 advantage. Nelligan then tipped a ball down for a kill with her left hand and an attack by Millikin went into the net as WashU won 25-15.
In set three, WashU grabbed an early 10-4 lead, but Millikin battled back to take its first lead of the match at 18-17. The Big Blue maintained the lead and got a set-point opportunity at 24-21. A kill by Sheredy, followed by a block by Dupont and Sheredy brought WashU within 24-23 and an attacking error by the Big Blue tied the score. After a kill by Millikin gave the team another set-point opportunity, Dupont got a kill to tie it again. A block by Dupont and Sheredy after a pancake dig by Zastrow gave WashU match point and the Bears took advantage as a kill by Dupont finished the match with the 27-25 win.
WashU hit .209 in the match, while limiting Millikin to .024 attacking, including 11 blocks by the Bears. Nelligan led WashU with 11 kills and five blocks, while Dupont finished with 10 kills and six blocks. Zastrow finished with 26 assists and sophomore Lauren Fournier led the Bears defensively with 19 digs.
Bear Notebook: WashU improved 18-9 all-time against Central and the teams were meeting for the first time since 2012 … The Bears are 10-3 all-time against Millikin … Nelligan increased her career kills total to 1,068, passing Haleigh Spencer (2004-07) for 20th on WashU's all-time leaderboard … Sheredy (1,024) and Dupont (1,018) both passed Emilie Walk (2004-07) for 24th and 25th, respectively, on the all-time career kills list … Nelligan also moved into second on the Bears' all-time career block assists list with 362, passing Whitney Smith (2003-06) ... Sheredy had three aces Friday, and has had at least one ace in 25 of 30 matches this season.