Bears Claw Their Way to 3-2 Win Over Westminster

Bears Claw Their Way to 3-2 Win Over Westminster

St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 25, 2016 – Washington University in St. Louis volleyball clawed its way back from an early two set hole to remain undefeated against Westminster (Mo.) College pulling out a 3-2 win on Tuesday evening in the Field House of the Athletic Complex. 

The Bears (19-9 Overall) have totaled 13 victories in 13 attempts against the Blue Jays (15-10 Overall). WashU also improved to 5-0 on the season when playing in five sets.

The Red and Green relied heavily on a strong net presence, totaling 14 blocks compared to Westminster's four. With the score tied 8-8 in the fifth set, Julianne Malek soared above the net to deny a back line attack from the Blue Jays. The point helped WashU take a momentary lead, prior to scoring six of the next nine points to win the contest. 

Sophomores Ifeoma Ufondu and Malek topped double-digit kill totals, 15 and 12 respectively while senior Amanda Palucki finished the match with eight block assists. Freshman Zoe Baxter led the Bears with 18 digs while senior Rexi Sheredy added 14.

WashU 3 – Westminster (Mo.) 2 (18-25, 24-26, 25-9, 25-8, 15-11) 

During the first set, WashU was down by as many as six points until a four-point swing nearly evened things up at 15-14. Westminster reached 16 points on a kill from Amanda Kiso before Hannah Marshall's four aces gave the Blue Jays a commanding 21-14 lead. Malek scored multiple points for the Bears following Marshall's aces but the Blue Jays took set one, 25-18.

The lead still eluded WashU but the Bears were able to tie the score three times late in the second set. Ufondu evened things up at 24-24 when she lofted a shot over the Westminster blockers and in front of the back line. The Blue Jays scored the next two points with kills to take the set 26-24 and a 2-0 lead in the match. 

The Bears wasted little time in the third set. A Blue Jay service error opened the set as WashU took its first lead of the match before it worked its way to a 10-2 lead. The 10-2 run was highlighted by three kills from Ufondu and an ace from Caroline Dupont. WashU increased its lead to ten points on a service ace from Chloe Stile, 17-7. The team added two more points as seniors Palucki and Dupont blocked an attack and Sheredy contributed a kill. WashU took its first set of the match 25-9 on a Westminster error.

The Bears added five blocks in the fourth set as it dominated the action to a 25-8 win. Sheredy's solo block put the Bears within a single point of tying the match at two games apiece. Palucki and Dupont combined efforts to close the fourth set out with another block. 

Westminster opened the fifth and decisive set with three straight points. WashU inched its way back and built an 8-6 lead on a powerful swing from Malek which was assisted by Stile. Two straight Blue Jay points evened things up before Malek's solo block put WashU ahead 9-8. Sheredy scored three of the remaining six points for WashU including an ace to finish the match.

WashU will host Greenville College tomorrow at 7 p.m. during staff and faculty appreciation night while digging for a cure in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.