Thousand Oaks, Calif., Sept. 9, 2016 – Following a loss in the opening match of the Cal Lu Volleyball Invitational to the University of La Verne, Washington University in St. Louis responded with a victory over University of Santa Cruz Friday evening.
The Bears (5-3 Overall) responded to its third loss of the season with a four set victory over the Banana Slugs. Caroline Dupont had a dominant day for WashU finishing both matches with 14 kills apiece while she combined with Julianne Malek and Ifeoma Ufondu for 16 block assists.
Match 1: La Verne 3 – WashU 1 (25-20, 19-25, 22-25, 19-25)
The Bears opening match of the day resulted in a tough four set loss to University of La Verne. WashU won the opening set 25-20 before dropping the next three 19-25, 22-25 and 19-25.
Ifeoma Ufondu once again had a strong showing at the net, blocking two of La Verne's attacks on her own. Malek totaled four blocks, including one solo.
Savannah Zhang surpassed 30 assists for the third time this year in five matches played, setting a new career high with 39 assists. She also led the team with two aces from the service line.
Match 2: WashU 3 – UC Santa Cruz 1 (16-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-21)
After falling in their fourth straight set the Bears rose up to the occasion by winning three straight sets of hard fought volleyball from the Banana Slugs. WashU lost the opening set 16-25 before victories in sets two through four by scores of 26-24, 25-21 and 25-21.
Dupont once again led the Bears with 14 kills, finishing the match with a .435 hitting percentage. She was joined by senior Amanda Palucki and Ufondu with double digit kill totals. Palucki tallied 11 while Ufondu contributed 10 with Malek narrowly missing the mark with nine total.
Malek and Ufondu were major forces at the net as the tandem combined for 13 block assists, finishing with seven and six respectively. Natalie Stephanus added 21 digs on the Bears defensive side, with Zoe Baxter tallying 12 and Lauren Fournier reaching 10 again.
Zhang and Chloe Stile were solid forces directing the office. Zhang finished the match with 25 assists to Stile's 17 in three sets played.
WashU begins Saturday's competition with a match against No. 20 University of Whitewater-Wisconsin at 1:30 p.m. The next opponent of the day is also nationally ranked in No. 4 Claremont McKenna-Mudd-Scripps College at 6 p.m. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.