Volleyball’s Balanced Attack Leads to 2-0 UAA Start

Volleyball’s Balanced Attack Leads to 2-0 UAA Start

Pittsburgh, Pa., Oct. 1, 2016 – The Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team traveled to Pittsburgh for its first set of University Athletic Association (UAA) matches and seized two victories over tournament host No. 16 Carnegie Mellon University and Brandeis University Saturday afternoon.

The Bears improved on the season to 12-6 overall and 2-0 in UAA play with the 3-1 victory over CMU and 3-0 sweep of Brandeis. WashU held a strong advantage in both matches offensively, posting 105 kills in total and hitting percentages .257 against Carnegie Mellon and a season-high .465 versus Brandeis. 

Match 1: WashU 3 – CMU 1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-17, 25-13)

In a showdown of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) No. 15 and 16 teams, WashU wasted little time in jumping ahead. The Bears took an early lead behind the senior front line of Caroline Dupont, Amanda Palucki and Rexi Sheredy. The trio combined for 11 of the Bears points during a 16-10 lead. Julianne Malek and Ifeoma Ufondu joined in on the action with multiple kills down the stretch of the set one 25-19 win, including Ufondu's set clinching spike set up by freshman Chloe Stile

Carnegie Mellon attacked the ball at a much more efficient rate, eclipsing the .300 mark with 14 kills to match WashU's second set total. However the Bears finished with seven errors and fell to the Tartans 19-25 to even things up at one set apiece.

The third set was filled with more errors than kills as CMU led the erratic play with 11 mishits. Five of the final seven points scored by the Bears were due to errors on the Tartans. Stile assisted Dupont and Palucki on the other two points, which helped WashU to the 2-1 lead. 

In the fourth and final set WashU attacked the ball at a .306 clip, combining for 15 kills. The team left little room for a CMU run while Sheredy and Dupont closed out the set and match with multiple kills.

In total, five Bears reached double figures in kills including Sheredy, Palucki, Dupont, Ufondu and Malek. The five Bears totaled 57 kills during the match with the final two WashU kills coming from setter Stile. Stile paced the offense with 50 assists. 

Similarly on defense, the Bears played in balance with four members of the squad exceeding double digits in digs. Sheredy, Zoe Baxter, Natalie Stephanus and Loren Shin combined for 53 digs.

Sheredy led the team both offensively and defensively, finishing the match with 15 kills and digs. 

Match 2: WashU 3 – Brandeis (25-10, 25-15, 25-15)

The Bears scored 46 of 75 points against Brandeis on kills while combining for just six errors in the entire match. Ufondu was the lone Bear to exceed 10 kills, with 11 while Sheredy totaled 9 kills and digs, narrowly missing out on a second double-double of the day. 

Baxter reached 11 digs in the three set sweep while Sheredy, Malek and Dupont each combined for multiple blocks defensively.

The Bears dominated the first set of play with 17 kills, one error and 23 attack attempts for a .696 hitting percentage. Ufondu once again found the open court for the well placed kill to end set one. 

The second set was much tighter until Savannah Zhang subbed into serve the ball, helping the Bears out to a 16-10 lead. WashU scored the final three points of the match including a kill from Sheredy and a block from Dupont and Palucki.

During the third set, WashU and Brandeis was even at 7-all until Baxter's service led the Bears on a six point run. Brandeis brought the score within three points, 17-14 but Shin served up multiple aces and Leila King and Shannon Gurley kills put WashU within two points of the victory. Malek sealed the match with a decisive swing set up by Zhang to close out day one of UAA play for the Bears and the 3-0 victory. 

Eight Bears finished the second match while hitting at a .400 clip or better. Zhang and Stile tied for the team lead in assists with 18 apiece.

WashU will return to action tomorrow for its final match of the weekend against University of Chicago at noon (EDT). Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.