No. 19 Bears Finish Perfect 5-0 Week

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

St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 8, 2018 – The No. 19-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team finished the Bear Invitational a perfect 4-0 after picking wins over MacMurray College and No. 13 Carthage College Saturday in the WU Field House. The Bears also had a midweek victory over No. 10 Illinois Wesleyan.

WashU improved to 6-2 on the year and MacMurray dropped to 1-7 after the loss while the Bears handed Carthage its first loss of the weekend as the Lady Reds are now 5-3. Senior Julianne Malek dominated the course of action with 21 kills in 25 attempts.

Malek was named to the Bear Invite All-Tournament Team as well as senior Ifeoma Ufondu and junior Zoe Baxter. The trio of Bears were joined by Carthage's Megan Behrendt and Shannon Kebisek as well as Katie Orbeta of Rose-Hulman and Milea Ray of Birmingham Southern.

Match 1: WashU 3 – MacMurray 0

The Bears held MacMurray to a -.040 hitting percentage in the first set as senior Julianne Malek took control of the frame with four kills and two service aces. WashU took the set by a score of 25-18, pulling away on a 5-0 run that included a kill and block by Malek.

Senior Lauren Martin led the Bears attack in the second set which WashU claimed 25-12. She tallied four kills on seven attempts. The Red & Green controlled the action from early on after taking a 5-1 lead.

The Bears equaled their second set output, defeating MacMurray 25-12 in the third to close out the match. Sophomore Rachel Cheng totaled eight digs in the frame while the Bears defense held the Highlanders to a -.125 hitting percentage. Freshman Michaela Bach recorded four of her six kills in the final set.

Malek led the Bears with a nearly perfect hitting percentage, totaling seven kills in eight attempts to end the match with an .875 hitting percentage. Martin finished with a team-high eight kills and two block assists.

Match 2: WashU 3 – Carthage 1

Carthage came out swinging in the first set, hitting at a .312 clip while holding the Bears to a .154 mark despite Ufondu and Malek combining for 10 kills in 13 attacks. The Lady Reds took the first set 25-20.

The Bears jumped ahead in the second set on back-to-back kills by Ufondu and Malek. The tandem totaled seven kills in the second frame but keying the Bears 25-21 victory was the defensive effort. WashU held Carthage to a .162 hitting percentage while increasing its own to .189.

The Red & Green continued the trend in the third frame, lowering Carthage's hitting percentage to .150 and raising its own to .250. Ufondu led the attack with five kills in the third set as the Bears pulled ahead midway through the third set and scored the final three points.

The Lady Reds hit in the negative during the fourth and final frame in contrast to the Bears match best .281 hitting percentage. Malek tallied three kills and a block to propel the Bears to a decisive 25-11 win.

Ufondu finished with a match high 16 kills and Malek added 14 on just 17 attempts. Sophomore Kirby Knapp recorded 36 assists.

The Bears will travel to Claremont, Calif. next weekend for a strong schedule against AVCA Top-25 opponents after winning two over Top-25 teams this week. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.