No. 13 Volleyball Gears Up for Bloomington Regional

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

St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 8, 2017 - The No. 13-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team earned a trip to its 31st straight NCAA Tournament and will face No. 2-ranked Calvin College in the opening round of 64 teams during the Bloomington Regionals hosted by Illinois Wesleyan University on Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

Download the complete WashU game notes by clicking HERE (PDF).

THIS WEEK'S COMPETITION - WashU (24-9 Overall, 6-1 UAA) enters the week as the No. 13 ranked team in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III poll. The Bears will travel to Bloomington, Ill. to face No. 2 Calvin College in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Bloomington Regional. Teams also competing in the Bloomington Regional are No. 11 Millikin, No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan, No. 17 Carthage, No. 23 Chicago, Concordia (Wis.) and Greenville.

REGIONAL OPPONENTS - WashU is 3-2 against teams in the Bloomington Regional this season having defeated Chicago twice and Greenville once while falling to Illinois Wesleyan and Millikin previously this season. WashU and Calvin met last season for the 11th time in school history during the NCAA Division III National Championship match, in which the Knights clinched their third title in program history.

UAA MVP - Junior middle hitter Julianne Malek was named the University Athletic Association (UAA) Most Valuable Player after leading the conference in hitting percentage (.425). Within the UAA, The Woodlands, Texas-native ranks fifth in blocks (88) and seventh in kills (336).

ALL-UAA - Junior middle hitter Julianne Malek was named First-Team All-UAA while sophomore libero Zoe Baxter, sophomore middle hitter Leila King and junior outside hitter Ifeoma Ufondu were awarded Second-Team All-UAA honors. Malek led the association in hitting percentage (.425), Baxter ranked third in digs (549), King led the UAA in blocks (109) and Ufondu ranks third in total kills (366).

COACHING STAFF OF THE YEAR - Head coach Vanessa Walby, full-time assistant Ashlee Rust, part-time assistants Greg Selle, Sarah Sherman, Brandon Thompson and student-assistant Savannah Zhang were awarded the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year. Walby has earned the honor four times, twice with the Bears.

UAA PLAYERS OF THE WEEK - Junior Julianne Malek and sophomore Zoe Baxter were named the University Athletic Association (UAA) Players of the Week after leading the Bears to a 4-0 record in route to clinching the 22nd UAA Championship in program history. Malek recorded a .507 hitting percentage while averaging 3.00 kills per set in four matches. In a 3-1 win over No. 7 Emory, she recorded 14 kills and a .542 hitting percentage. Baxter led the Bears with 63 digs while adding 11 assists. She averaged 4.85 digs per set and totaled 21 digs in the UAA Championship match victory over Emory.

UAA CHAMPIONS - WashU went into the UAA Championship weekend as the second seeded team behind Carnegie Mellon, but quickly worked its way to the conference championship match against host Emory University by straight set victories over New York and Chicago. Emory's second set win was the only dropped set of the week for WashU as the Bears finished the week 4-0.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE - WashU's strength of schedule determined by opponent's cumulative winning percentage ranks sixth in all of Division III, as the Bears past and future opponents possess a .660 win percentage.

EXTREMELY EFFICIENT - Junior Julianne Malek ranks second in hitting percentage among her Division III peers. She has posted a 0.425 swing rate on the year with 336 kills and 60 errors in 649 attempts. She also leads the Bears in service aces with 40. Junior Ifeoma Ufondu leads the Bears with 366 kills.

ROAD WARRIORS - WashU has won eight consecutive matches away from home, including multiple victories over nationally ranked Emory and Chicago. Overall on the season, the Bears have a 16-4 record away from the WU Field House.