Ufondu Sparks No. 12 Bears Past No. 3 Claremont-M-S

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

Claremont, Calif., Sept. 15, 2018 – Senior Ifeoma Ufondu had a dominant match for the No. 12-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team as the Bears defeated defending national champion and No. 3-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges Saturday evening.

WashU improved to 8-3 on the year, and finished the weekend 2-1 against Top-15 ranked American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) teams. The Athenas fell to 9-2 after the loss. Ufondu finished the match with 20 kills and a .432 hitting percentage.

The Bears downed CMS in four sets, 25-17, 20-25, 25-18 and 25-21. WashU outhit the Athenas .213 to .154, totaling 52 kills to CMS' 44.

Set 1: WashU 25 – CMS 17

WashU took advantage of a few errors by the Athenas mixed with a kill by senior Lauren Martin and a block by senior Julianne Malek and sophomore Tricia Brown to take a 5-0 lead. CMS cut the lead to two points multiple times but a block from Ufondu and Malek closed out the set 25-17 in the Bears favor.

Set 2: CMS 25 – WashU 20

The Bears held a 17-11 lead following a kill by Ufondu set by Malek but the Athenas went on a 14-3 run to win the set 25-20. Ufondu led WashU with six kills in the second set.

Set 3: WashU 25 – CMS 18

The Bears and Athenas were in a tightly contested third set. WashU went on a 10-4 run to win the third frame as a pair of Ufondu kills sparked the rally. Senior Natalie Stephanus finished the set with an ace as the Bears won 25-18.

Set 4: WashU 25 – CMS 21

The Bears trailed 15-14 in the fourth frame before back-to-back errors by CMS gave WashU the lead. Sophomore Kirby Knapp's kill for a 17-16 WashU lead put the Bears ahead permananetly. Malek and Martin combined for a block which put the Bears ahead by two points. Down the stretch, Malek had two kills and two aces to push the WashU lead to 24-18. CMS followed with three straight points before a well placed strike from Ufondu ended the set and match.

Malek concluded the match with 10 kills and a team-leading .444 hitting percentage while Knapp tallied 38 assists. Junior Zoe Baxter and Knapp both exceeded double digit dig totals as Baxter led the way with 19. Malek finished the match with seven blocks.

Up next for the Bears is a single match on Thursday, Sept. 20 at home against Webster. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.