Bears Ride Unlikely Momentum to 3-0 Win vs. No. 3 Wittenberg

Bears Ride Unlikely Momentum to 3-0 Win vs. No. 3 Wittenberg

St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 22, 2016 – The Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team erased a 0-2 deficit against Millikin University for a 3-2 win prior to defeating No. 3 Wittenberg University 3-0 on Saturday afternoon in the Field House. Seniors Caroline Dupont and Rexi Sheredy were named to the Active Ankle Invite All-Tournament team. 

The Bears (18-9 Overall) won six straight sets on the day after dropping their first two against Millikin (22-8 Overall). With just 25 minutes between matches, the Bears did not lose any momentum as they came out attacking the ball rigorously with aggression against Wittenberg.

WashU won in two distinctive styles Saturday as it overcame a team hitting percentage of .180 against Millikin in a defensive battle while attacking the ball to the tune of a .364 clip against the Tigers of Wittenberg. 

Match 1: WashU 3 – Millikin 2 (22-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-11)

Seniors Rexi Sheredy and Caroline Dupont were major factors in the Bears turnaround against Millikin. The tandem contributed a combined eight kills and six blocks during the momentum changing third set win. 

In total the duo finished the match with 33 kills collectively while Ifeoma Ufondu added 12 herself.

WashU had three members on the defensive end finish with more than 20 digs as Sheredy led the group of Loren Shin and Zoe Baxter with 24. Dupont led the Bears with 11 blocks including two solo as WashU finished the match with 10 more blocks than its counterpart. 

During the first set, WashU took the lead late, 21-20, on a five-point swing highlighted by Sheredy's three kills but the Big Blue scored five of the next six for the win.

WashU and Millikin were tied at 12-all before a five-point run by the Big Blue put the second set out of reach. 

A kill from Millikin's Erin Syversen late in the third set put her team ahead 23-22 but an error one play later evened things back up. Sheredy went to the service line and Dupont's kill assisted by Chloe Stile put the Bears within one point of extending the match which they did when the ball was attacked into the net by Millikin.

The Big Blue opened the fourth set with five straight points. WashU answered back with five straight points. The teams traded points back and forth with neither side's lead exceeding three points until the Bears earned an unlikely point when Shin's dig soared over the net to find open court on Millikin's side. WashU took a 21-19 advantage at that point and added two more on kills from Dupont and Stile. An error from the Big Blue followed another Dupont kill to end the set, evening the match at two games apiece. 

The Bears never trailed in the fifth and decisive set. Baxter helped serve the Bears to a 10-6 lead which included an ace during a four-point Bears run. Millikin scored five of the next seven points narrowing the gap to a 12-11 Bear advantage. Dupont and Ufondu put the Bears back on track with back-to-back kills. Julianne Malek and Abby Selcho closed the match out with a block for the decisive 15th Bears' point in the fifth set.

Match 2: WashU 3 – No. 3 Wittenberg 0 (25-18, 25-22, 26-24) 

The Bears once again led by the play of seniors Sheredy and Dupont but the duo had solid help from several underclassmen as Ufondu, Malek and Selcho combined for 23 kills while committing just three errors.

Stile was incredibly efficient setting the Bears lineup up for success in the match. She totaled 33 assists while the Bears attack finished the match with a .364 hitting percentage. 

WashU continued its dominant play at the net, totaling nine blocks as a team compared to the Tigers three. On the back line, Baxter and Sheredy both reached double figures in digs.

The Bears opened the first set by scoring eight of their first 11 points on kills, taking an 11-5 lead. The Tigers trimmed things to two points at 11-9 but WashU utilized an 8-2 run to pull away. Stile set up a Dupont swing to finish the first set in favor of the Bears 25-18. 

Wittenberg staged a late three-point rally to take a 22-21 lead in the second set but WashU's Sheredy ended the run with a kill before ending the set with an ace.

Despite WashU's eight point lead in the third set and two game advantage in the match, Wittenberg refused to roll over. The Tigers scored 14 of the next 19 points to put them on the brink of winning their first set of the day. The Bears continued to roll though. They scored the final three points of the match including another block to close out a match, this time by Dupont and Ufondu. 

The Bears will remain home during the week with two matches, facing Westminster (Mo.) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Greenville on Wednesday at 7 p.m. for the Breast Cancer and Faculty & Staff appreciation night. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.