WashU Outlasts No. 1 Cal Lu and Heidelberg in Sweep

WashU Outlasts No. 1 Cal Lu and Heidelberg in Sweep

Springfield, Ohio, Sept. 17, 2016 – The No. 19 Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team posted back-to-back five set victories during the second day of the Wittenberg Fall Classic, defeating Heidelberg University and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) No. 1 ranked team California Lutheran University Saturday afternoon.

WashU (8-6 Overall) complimented its attack which compiled 121 kills with 165 digs as a team. The Bears outpaced both the Bergs and Regals in the matches on attack and defense. WashU had 63 kills compared to Heidelberg's 48 while outpacing the Bergs on defense with 87 digs to 74. Finally the Bears totaled 58 kills and 78 digs in the match versus Cal Lu, while the Regal totals were 47 kills and 69 digs. 

Match 1: WashU 3 – Heidelberg 2 (23-25, 25-15, 25-21, 17-25, 15-13)

Five total Bears reached double digit figures in kills, including Julianne Malek, Caroline Dupont, Shannon Gurley, Amanda Palucki and Ifeoma Ufondu. Chloe Stile paced the offense, setting a new career mark with 55 assists. Natalie Stephanus contributed five aces. 

Libero Zoe Baxter led the team with 23 digs, while Loren Shin and Gurley added 28 digs combined. Dupont tallied three solo blocks, with Malek adding two.

During the first set, WashU led late with a score of 22-18 but the Bergs rallied back to claim the first set. Heidelberg scored seven of the next eight points for the 25-23 win. Heidelberg's Sydney Moore aced the Bears twice to close out set one. 

Gurley helped the Bears pull away with set two. She had back-to-back kills, putting the Bears ahead 10-7. WashU then took a six-point lead, 20-14, when Dupont denied one of the Berg's attacks. Baxter served the Bears on a five point run, including an ace and a kill from Gurley on game point.

The third set was tight down the stretch. The Bears held a slim 19-18 lead before an ace from Rexi Sheredy put the Bears ahead 21-18. The Bears and Bergs traded points back and forth until Stile set up multiple kills from Dupont and Malek to close out the scoring, 25-21, giving the Bears a 2-1 advantage. 

Heidelberg pulled away with set four, scoring the final six points which evened the match at two games apiece.

The Bears trailed by four points in the final set, 10-6, but a five-point swing highlighted by Baxter's serves and back-to-back kills from Gurley put the Bears ahead. Gurley, Dupont and Palucki finished the scoring for the Bears, with WashU taking the decisive set 15-13. 

Match 2: WashU 3 – No. 1 Cal Lu 2 (25-22, 19-25, 25-15, 17-25, 15-7)

Stile eclipsed 40 assists for the second match in a row, totaling 49 as the Bears were led by Ufondu's 18 kills. Dupont and Gurley added 12 kills apiece, while Malek and Palucki combined for 14 kills. Ufondu hit the ball efficiently, posting a .395 hitting average, only to be outdone by Dupont's .455 average. 

Baxter led the Bears with 18 digs, while Lauren Fournier added 14 and Stile contributed 11. Ufondu denied three shots from the Regals by herself, while Dupont added two more to her total on the day.

The Bears held an early lead in the first set, but never took a lead larger than their 14-10 and 22-18 leads. The Regals responded to each Bear advantage, including a four point run to even things up at 22-all. Dupont brought the ball back to the Bears service line with a kill set up by Stile. Sheredy served the final two points, with Palucki closing the opening set victory with a kill. 

Cal Lu trailed in the second set 9-8, but scored 16 of the final 26 points to even the match at 1-all.

Sheredy led the Bears to a big lead in the third set. While at the service line the Bears went on a six-point streak, to take a 7-2 advantage. The Bears never looked back as they rolled to a 25-15 win. 

The Bears pulled even with the Regals in the fourth set, tying things up at 15 points apiece. Cal Lu finished the set by scoring 10 of the next 12 points.

Ufondu scored multiple points during the Bears 7-1 lead in the fifth set. The Bears scored five of their final eight points with kills coming from Dupont, Palucki and Gurley. Gurley scored three of the final four points for the Bears down the stretch including match point. 

WashU travels to Greenville on Tuesday Sept. 20 before returning home on Thursday for its first home dual of the season against Webster at 7 p.m. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.