WashU Comeback Falls Short in UAA Semifinals

WashU Comeback Falls Short in UAA Semifinals

St. Louis, Mo. Nov. 4, 2016 – Washington University in St. Louis volleyball used a 3-0 sweep of Case Western Reserve University to advance to the University Athletic Association (UAA) semifinal match on Friday afternoon before falling short in a comeback attempt against nationally ranked Emory University, 3-1, in the Field House.

WashU (21-10 Overall) was the three seed in the conference tournament while Emory (29-5 Overall) was seeded second. After a straight set sweep of Case (21-9 Overall), the Bears dropped the first two sets against Emory 25-15 and 25-10. Things started to swing in the Bears favor after a third set 25-21 win but ultimately the Eagles prevailed with the decisive 25-23 set four win. 

UAA Quarterfinal: WashU 3 – Case Western 0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-22)

Seniors Amanda Palucki and Rexi Sheredy teamed with sophomore Julianne Malek to total 30 kills, as all three Bears finished the match with 10 kills apiece. Freshman Chloe Stile routinely assisted the Bears lineup as she finished with 39 assists, eight digs and three kills on five swings. 

Freshman libero Zoe Baxter led her WashU teammates with 11 digs while sophomore Ifeoma Ufondu and Malek combined for eight of WashU's 16 block assists on the defensive end.

The first set was tied 11-all before Ufondu and Palucki combined for three straight kills to give the Bears an edge. WashU led the rest of the way and finished the set on a thundering strike from Palucki. 

The Spartans held a 16-14 lead in the second set but a kill from Malek and multiple aces from Baxter put the Bears ahead for good. Malek put the Bears within the set victory but a Spartan block postponed the outcome until a service error put the Bears ahead 2-0 in the match.

Case held a 19-17 advantage late in the third set but the Spartans committed three straight errors to give the lead back to WashU. Following a Case timeout, Sheredy had a kill and senior Caroline Dupont and Stile combined on a block to put the Bears ahead 22-19. Dupont closed out the match, 25-22, with a kill set up by Stile. 

UAA Semifinal: Emory 3 – WashU 1 (15-25, 10-25, 25-21, 23-25)

Sheredy and Palucki both reached double figures in kills for the second straight match, with 12 and 11. Ufondu tied for the team lead with 12 too, while Palucki led the team with a .308 hitting percentage. The Bears collectively committed 25 errors compared to the Eagles 14. 

Stile paced the offense with 47 of its 50 assists. Defensively Baxter, Sheredy and Dupont reached double figures in digs. Stile and Natalie Stephanus both finished the match with nine digs apiece, while Palucki, Malek and Dupont contributed three block assists.

The Bears cruised to an 8-3 lead behind several kills from Ufondu but Emory answered back with five straight points to even things up at 8-all. The two sides traded single points back and forth until the Eagles pulled away with a 4-0 run to take a 17-13 lead. Kills from Palucki and Malek were the last two points of the set for WashU as Emory took a 1-0 match lead after scoring eight of the final 10 points. 

Emory owned the second set as the Bears were only able to string together back-to-back points twice. The Eagles took a 2-0 match lead.

The Bears roared back to a 6-1 lead in the third set but the Eagles neutralized the advantage with a 6-1 run of their own. With things tied at 15-all, Palucki put the Bears ahead with a kill before a trio of attacks from Ufondu found open court which gave WashU a 19-15 lead. Sheredy put the Bears within a point of winning the third set. Moments later Palucki and Malek combined efforts on a block to cut the Eagles match lead down to 2-1. 

Emory worked to a 17-12 lead in the fourth set before WashU chipped away. The Red & Green rallied for six straight points highlighted by multiple blocks from Dupont, Sheredy and Stile. Junior Lauren Fournier added an ace to help the Bears turn a five-point gap to an 18-17 lead. The Bears maintained the single point lead until the Eagles scored six of the final eight points. Emory won the set and advanced onto the UAA Championship match tomorrow versus the fourth seeded Tartans of Carnegie Mellon.

The Bears will face the No. 1 seeded Maroons from University of Chicago tomorrow at 10 a.m. in UAA third place match. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.