Cleveland, Ohio, Sept. 30, 2017 – The No. 18-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team soared to a 2-0 record in the opening night of University Athletic Association (UAA) play beating New York University in straight sets before battling Round Robin #1 host Case Western Reserve University to a 3-1 victory in the Horsburgh Gymnasium Saturday evening.
WashU improved to 10-5 overall and 2-0 in UAA play, while NYU fell to 3-15 and Case Western split to become 12-7 on the season after beating No. 10 Carnegie Mellon University. The Bears attack excelled against the Violets with a .393 hitting percentage (45 kills in 84 attempts) while the Red & Green defense totaled 18 block assists versus Case.
Match 1: WashU 3 – NYU 0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-13)
Six Bears hit .300 or better in the 3-0 match win over NYU including junior Julianne Malek (.688), sophomore Leila King (.600), junior Ifeoma Ufondu (.571), freshman Tricia Brown (.391), freshman Rachel Rhyner (.333) and junior Lauren Martin (.300).
Malek led the squad with 12 kills as Brown reached double figures with her third straight match, recording 11 in total. Freshman Kirby Knapp paced the attack with 40 assists.
Sophomore Zoe Baxter reached double figures for the 27th straight match, tallying 10 in the victory.
The Bears sprinted to a 7-2 lead behind the service of junior Natalie Stephanus with kills by Ufondu and Martin. The final point was scored by Martin to put the Bears ahead with a first set 25-17 win.
The Violets evened the score with WashU in the second set at 9-9 before a kill from Brown led the Bears on a 16-7 run to close out the set. Brown clinched the set, 25-16, with a kill on a pass from Knapp.
Knapp's service in the third and final set led the Bears on a 7-0 run before an ace by Malek sealed the 25-13 set victory and 3-0 match win.
Match 2: WashU 3 – Case Western 1 (26-24, 22-25, 25-20, 25-20)
Brown led the Bears with 14 kills in WashU's second match, while King (13) and Ufondu (12) also reached double figures. Brown finished with a match-high .357 hitting percentage.
Knapp totaled 27 assists to lead the team while freshman Alison Almgren-Bell contributed 21. Almgren-Bell led the Bears with three service aces as WashU tallied eight.
Baxter extended her streak to 28 straight matches of double figures in digs with 16 while senior Lauren Fournier pitched in 11. King finished with five block assists while Ufondu and Malek both concluded the match with three.
Case held a 23-19 edge in the first set before a service error kick started a swing in favor of the Bears. WashU scored five consecutive points to seize a 24-23 lead. Case evened the score at 24-all before a kill by King and block assist by King and sophomore Hannah Turner closed out the set 26-24.
The Bears built a 17-14 lead in the second set but the Spartans scored six straight points to gather momentum. WashU nearly took the set with a 4-0 run of its own in response but Case scored five of the final six points.
Almgren-Bell's serve found open ground to give WashU a commanding 8-3 lead in the third set. The Spartans rallied within two points, 17-15, but kills from Turner, Brown and Malek helped close out the 25-20 victory.
The fourth and final set remained close at 17-14, but WashU used a 6-3 run to gain distance. Brown finalized the match with the Bears final two points on kills to reach her season's second highest total of 14 kills.
The Bears will face No. 10 Carnegie Mellon Sunday, Oct. 1 at 12 p.m. (ET) after the Tartans split its Round Robin #1 action, falling to Case 3-1 before defeating NYU 3-1. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.