No. 21 WashU Wins Six Straight Sets for 2-0 Weekend Start

Photo by WUSTL Photos/Danny Reise
Photo by WUSTL Photos/Danny Reise

St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 6, 2017 – The No. 21-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team cruised to straight set victories over the crosstown rivals Fontbonne University and Webster University on Friday evening in the WU Field House during Staff and Dig for Pink Night.

The Bears improved to 12-6 while Fontbonne fell to 4-13 and Webster dropped to 13-6 on the year. For the first time this season, WashU finished consecutive matches with hitting percentages above .300, including a season-high .527 against Fontbonne.

Match 1: WashU 3 – Fontbonne 0 (25-5, 25-14, 25-9)

The Bears .527 hitting percentage is the highest mark since WashU defeated Brandeis University 3-0 on Nov. 5, 2010. Sophomore Leila King led the Bears attack with 11 kills on 15 attempts with a single error for a .667 hitting percentage.

WashU combined for 44 kills and just five errors while the offense was set up by sophomore Chloe Stile and freshmen Alison Almgren-Bell and Kirby Knapp who tallied 36 of the Bears 42 assists. Almgren-Bell and Knapp both exceeded double figures in assists with 20 and 11 respectively.

King led the Bears with six blocks as the Atlanta, Ga.-native recorded multiple blocks for the 13th time this season. Sophomore Zoe Baxter was the lone Bear to reach double figures in digs, as she recorded 14. 

Junior Natalie Stephanus helped the Bears out to a 6-0 lead on the service line recording an ace while juniors Lauren Martin and Ifeoma Ufondu also contributed kills. WashU cruised to a 25-5 opening set victory.

Fontbonne trimmed a seven point second set lead for the Bears to four points at 14-10 but WashU scored 11 of the final 15 points for the 25-14 win. Freshman Jessica Almgren-Bell contributed the final point on an assist from fellow freshman Tricia Brown.

A 7-0 run late in the third set put the Bears ahead 22-7. Fontbonne ended the run on a kill by Abby Grumich but the Bears answered back on a block by freshman Maggie Porwit and Brown. The final two Bears points were scored on a solo block from King and a kill from (Jessica) Almgren-Bell assisted by her twin sister (Alison) Almgren-Bell.

Match 2: WashU 3 – Webster 0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-17)

Brown reached 10 kills for a match-high as 12 Bears in total recorded at least one kill: King (6), junior Julianne Malek (5), Ufondu (5), sophomore Abby Selcho (4), J. Almgren-Bell (3), Martin (3), freshman Rachel Rhyner (3), Knapp (2), Porwit (2), sophomore Hannah Turner (2) and Baxter (1).

Knapp and A. Almgren-Bell led the Bears in assists with 19 and 11. The duo also recorded multiple service aces in addition to Baxter.

Baxter once again led the Bears in digs with 17, as she increased her streak of double figure dig totals to 31 consecutive matches.

The Bears continued its torrent pace attacking the ball to the tune of a .630 hitting percentage in set number one. An ace from Ufondu pushed the Bears ahead 8-3 before the Gorloks scored the next point. It was the final time within the set that Webster would trail by less than five points. A kill from Knapp on the assist by sophomore Emily Jayne.

Webster pulled within three points on an attacking error but the Bears' Baxter responded with a kill that sparked a 5-0 run. WashU worked its way to a 25-15 second set victory. 

WashU claimed the first point for the third consecutive set but Webster claimed a 5-3 lead on back-to-back kills. Selcho, Rhyner, Turner and J. Almgren-Bell combined for six straight kills which gave the Bears a 9-5 lead. The Red & Green concluded the set 25-17 on a kill by Porwit to claim their second match victory of the night.

The Active Ankle Invitational will continue Saturday, Oct. 7 with the first match beginning at 11 a.m. as the Bears host Thomas More College. The conclusion of the tournament is scheduled for 3 p.m. with the Bears hosting Central (Iowa) College. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.