Volleyball Clinches 22nd UAA Title and Bid to NCAAs

Photo by Tim Farrell
Photo by Tim Farrell

Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 4, 2017 – The No. 19-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team captured its 22nd University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship in program history in defeating No. 7-ranked Emory University on its home Woodruff P.E. Center court 3-1 Saturday afternoon.

The Bears improve to 24-9 on the season and 22-5 all-time in UAA Championship matches while Emory fell to 27-6 on the year and 7-12 in the association championship match all-time. The Bears and Eagles met for the 16th time in conference championship history and the Bears improved to 11-5 against Emory with the win.

WashU 3 - Emory 1 (25-23, 17-25, 25-16, 25-17)

Junior Julianne Malek led the Bears attack with 14 kills and a .542 hitting percentage as The Woodlands, Texas-native committed a single error in 24 attempts. Junior Ifeoma Ufondu totaled 10 kills, while the Bears finished with a .270 hitting percentage compared to the Eagles .200 mark.

Freshman Kirby Knapp (20) and sophomore Chloe Stile (19) paced the attack. Junior Natalie Stephanus led the Bears with two service aces and was at the service line for the final point of the match.

Sophomore libero Zoe Baxter finished with a match high 21 digs as WashU finished with 52 combined digs. The Bears combined for seven blocks compared to Emory's four with sophomore Leila King contributing a match-high five block assists.

The Bears quickly built a five-point lead early on in the first set with multiple kills by Ufondu and junior Lauren Martin. The Eagles rallied to within a single point, 24-23, but a block by King and Ufondu closed out the set for the Bears.

WashU scored the initial point of the second set but Emory scored four straight points to take the lead for good. The Bears attack was held to a .087 percentage in the second set as Emory evened the match up at one set apiece.

The Eagles and Bears traded single points back-and-forth with Emory leading 11-10, but WashU went on a 9-3 run to take control of the set. Baxter helped clinch the set with the final kill for the Bears which put them ahead 23-15 until back-to-back errors by Emory ended the set.

WashU knotted the score at 5-all on a kill by Malek before she gave Washu the lead for good with an ace. The Bears built an eight-point advantage, 20-12 on a kill by Ufondu and clinched the match on a kill by freshman Tricia Brown assisted by Stephanus.

The Bears secured its 31st straight NCAA Tournament berth with the victory and will learn of their opponent during Monday's 11:30 a.m. (CT) selection show. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.