No. 9 WashU Volleyball Collects Two Five Set UAA Victories

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

Pittsburgh, Pa., Oct. 13, 2018 – The No. 9-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team collected two five-set victories during University Athletic Association (UAA) play Saturday in Pittsburgh, defeating Round Robin 2 host Carnegie Mellon University and University of Rochester.

WashU improved to 17-4 on the year overall including 4-1 in the UAA. Carnegie Mellon is 14-6 overall and 3-1 after the Bears match and Rochester fell to 19-7 and 1-4 in conference play after a pair of matches.

Senior outside hitter Ifeoma Ufondu set a career-high with 27 kills in the win over CMU, and added 16 more against Rochester, while sophomore setter Kirby Knapp paced the Bears attacks with 99 assists. Junior libero Zoe Baxter tallied 53 digs and junior middle hitter Leila King totaled 14 blocks between the two matches.

Ufondu joined the 1,000 kill club with her explosive play Saturday. She is now one of 28 players to reach the total in Bear history. Coincidentally, head coach Vanessa Walby also reached a milestone with her 300th career victory in the come from behind victory over Rochester.

Match 1: WashU 3 – Carnegie Mellon 2

Set 1: WashU 25 – CMU 19

WashU scored six straight points late in the set to take a 23-15 lead as Ufondu recorded eight kills to lead the Bears. During the run, Ufondu combined with King for two blocks. Ufondu closed the set out with a kill assisted by Knapp.

Set 2: WashU 28 – CMU 26

The Bears jumped ahead of the Tartans 8-4 with a 7-1 run on multiple kills by Ufondu and a solo block by King. CMU turned their deficit to a five-point advantage with an 11-2 run. The Bears came back however on a steady dose of Ufondu down the stretch as the Lancaster, Calif.-native responded with nine total kills including her second consecutive set-clinching spike.

Set 3: CMU 27 – WashU 25

Despite, keeping the score within a few points for most of the third set, WashU never once took the lead. The Tartans won the extra point set, 27-25, as senior Julianne Malek led WashU with four kills and three blocks. 

Set 4: CMU 25 – WashU 21

Ufondu had a highly efficient four kills on six attempts, hitting at a .500 clip, but the Tartans evened the match at two sets apiece. CMU hit .306 in the fourth set to send the match to the fifth and decisive set.

Set 5: WashU 15 – CMU 10

After the Tartans hit at a match-high .306 percent in set four, WashU held the round robin host to a match-low .087 in the fifth frame. Junior Hannah Turner had two blocks while Ufondu led the Bears attack with four kills. Turner and King ended the match on a block to clinch the set 15-10.

Match 2: WashU 3 – Rochester 2

Set 1: Rochester 25 – WashU 18

The Bears fell behind quickly in the opening set against the Yellow Jackets as Rochester claimed a 7-3 advantage. WashU pulled within a single point multiple times but was unable to even the score despite seven combined kills from Malek and Ufondu.

Set 2: Rochester 25 – WashU 20

An ace by Baxter gave WashU an 11-10 lead in the second frame, but Rochester retaliated with a 7-1 run. The Bears finished the set with a .429 hitting percentage but fell 25-20 after the Yellow Jackets scored eight points on service aces.

Set 3: WashU 27 – Rochester 25

WashU impressively scored 19 of its 27 points in the third set on kills to mobilize a comeback victory. Malek twice put the Bears up by three points with kills but Rochester crept back to take a 25-24 lead, before three straight points by WashU ended the set. Ufondu provided the clutch 25-25 equalizing kill before King and Knapp put the Red & Green ahead on a block. King ended the set with a kill assisted by Knapp.

Set 4: WashU 25 – Rochester 14

Rochester held a 7-6 lead in the fourth frame, but WashU dominated down the stretch scoring 19 of the final 26 points. Malek was flawless, recording four kills on six attacks with zero errors committed in addition to a dig and a bock in the set.

Set 5: WashU 15 – Rochester 6

The Bears and Yellow Jackets traded three point runs to start the fifth set before WashU closed out the match on a 6-1 run. Sophomore Tricia Brown ended it with a kill dished by Knapp.

Malek ended the match with 13 kills, no errors and a .684 hitting percentage. King recorded a season-high 14 kills and hit at a .423 clip as Ufondu (16) and Brown (11) also reached double figures in kills.

WashU will close out the UAA Round Robin Sunday, Oct. 14 with matches against New York University and No. 12 Emory University at 10 a.m. (ET) and 2 p.m. (ET) respectively. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.