No. 12 WashU Splits Top-15 Matchups in California

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

Claremont, Calif., Sept. 14, 2018 – The No. 12-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team downed No. 15 California Lutheran University 3-1 before falling in straight sets to No. 13 Juniata College in Roberts Pavillion.

The Bears six match win streak concluded against Juniata as the Bears head into Saturday's action against No. 3-ranked and defending national champion Claremont Mudd Scripps Colleges. WashU hit .246 in the win over Cal Lutheran, but its hitting percentage dropped to .067 in the loss to Juniata.

Match 1: WashU 3 – Cal Luthern 1

The Bears opened an 11-2 lead over the Regals in the first set. Senior Ifeoma Ufondu had three kills on the run as WashU cruised to a 25-10 first set victory.

Ufondu closed the second set in the Bears favor with a 25-21 win. Cal Lutheran rallied to within a single point deficit, 20-19, but a kill by senior Lauren Martin sparked a four-point swing. Martin proceeded to lead the Bears at the service line following the kill and picked up an assist on a kill by sophomore Kirby Knapp.

Cal Lutheran jumped ahead with eight unanswered points in the third set and increased its lead to 14-1. The Bears cut the deficit to seven points but the Regals claimed the set 25-17.

Martin picked up one of her career-high five aces during the Bears five-straight points in the third set. Ufondu had a solo block to put the Bears a single point from victory which junior Leila King ended it with a kill from Knapp.

Ufondu finished with a match-high 15 kills as senior Julianne Malek led the team with a .500 hitting percentage and 10 kills. Knapp paced the attack with 34 assists and junior Zoe Baxter led the defense with 28 digs.

Match 2: Juniata 3 – WashU 0

The Eagles beat the Bears 25-22, 25-10 and 25-17. Sophomore Tricia Brown led WashU with eight kills. Baxter and senior Natalie Stephanus led the defense with nine digs apiece.

WashU scored the first four points in the match and held a 14-9 advantage but Juniata scored five consecutive points to even the score. The Bears momentarily took the lead but the Eagles pulled ahead and finished a 25-22 first set win.

Juniata dominated the second set and ran away with a 25-10 win. Staphanus led WashU to a 3-0 lead in the third set with an ace but the Eagles went on a 6-1 run to overtake the lead.

The Bears will face the tournament host Claremont-M-S at 4:45 p.m. (PT). Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.