No. 12 WashU To Host Six Teams at Baden Invite

Photo by Mary Butkus/WUSTL Photos
Photo by Mary Butkus/WUSTL Photos

St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 25, 2018 –
The No. 12-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's volleyball team hosts six teams during the Baden Invitational Friday-Saturday, Oct. 26-27.

The Bears will face two regionally ranked opponents this weekend when it opens play against Aurora University on Friday at 5 p.m. and on Saturday when it closes the invitational against University of Texas at Dallas at 3:30 p.m. Aurora is ranked fifth in the Midwest Region, while Texas-Dallas is ranked fifth in the West Region.

WashU will also celebrate the careers of its four senior members prior to its 7 p.m. match on Friday against Wartburg College. Seniors Julianne Malek, Lauren Martin, Natalie Stephanus and Ifeoma Ufondu will be honored. The Bears will also face Millikin University on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Quick Notes on the seven teams:

WashU Bears (19-5 overall, 5-2 University Athletic Association)

  • Senior outside hitter Ifeoma Ufondu became the 28th player in WashU program history to exceed 1,000 kills when she recorded a career-high 27 in a five-set victory over Carnegie Mellon.
  • Senior middle hitter Julianne Malek leads Division III with a .455 hitting percentage. She has 925 career kills and is quickly approaching the 1,000 kill club.
  • Senior defensive specialist Natalie Stephanus is 11 digs shy of joining the 1,000 dig club.
  • The Bears have the fourth toughest schedule in Division III as their past opposition has a combined .677 winning percentage.
  • Junior middle hitter Leila King ranks 35th in Division III with 1.06 blocks per set and 92 total blocks.
  • WashU is 8-1 in the month of October.

Aurora University Spartans (19-6 overall, 12-0 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference)

  • Aurora is 10-1 in the month of October with its lone loss coming in a five-setter to No. 1 Calvin.
  • Senior setter Emily Lines is fourth in DIII with 11.11 assists per set. She has totaled 878 assists on the year.
  • Senior outside hitter Katie Vondra is averaging 3.94 kills per set and 4.60 points per set which ranks 28th in DIII.
  • The Spartans are 0-5 against current AVCA Top-25 ranked teams.

Belhaven University Blazers (10-16 overall, 2-13 American Southwest Conference)

  • Belhaven is on a seven-match losing streak.
  • The Blazers have lost two matches to Texas-Dallas, who leads the American Southwest Conference East Division with a 13-1 mark.
  • Senior outside hitter Lauren Whiting leads the Blazers with 197 kills.

DePauw University Tigers (15-8 overall, 7-1 North Coast Athletic Conference)

  • DePauw has won 13 of its last 15 matches after starting the season 2-6.
  • Senior outside hitter Suzanne Peters ranks sixth in school history with 1,338 career kills
  • DePauw has faced six teams ranked in the most recent Division III rankings and posted a 2-4 record.

Millikin University Big Blue (14-15 overall, 4-3 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin)

  • Millikin is 13-15 on the season. The Big Blue have played a strenuous schedule facing seven nationally ranked opponents. On Sept. 28, Millikin knocked off then 12th ranked Hope College 3-2.
  • After making two back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament and winning three straight College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) regular season titles, Millikin lost three All-Americans to graduation after the 2017 season. 
  • Debra Kiick is in her 18th year serving as the head coach at Millikin. She is Millikin's all-time winningest coach with over 430 career victories. Under Kiick, Millikin has won four conference titles, made four trips to the NCAA Tournament and has won 20 games or more in 15 seasons.

University of Texas at Dallas (19-7 overall, 13-1 American Southwest Conference)

  • The Comets have qualified for the NCAA Division III National Tournament each of the three past seasons, advancing to the regional finals in 2016.
  • UTD has claimed the American Southwest Conference East Division title for the fourth consecutive season, going 13-1 in ASC play this fall. The Comets will serve as the No. 1 seed out of the ASC East in next week's conference tournament.
  • Head coach Marci Allison started the UTD volleyball program 2004 and she has had a winning record in each of the past 14 seasons, winning five ASC championships and qualifying for the NCAA D-III National Tournament six times.

Wartburg College Knights (15-9 overall, 7-1 American Rivers Conference)

  • Wartburg four-peated as regular season American Rivers Conference Champions, following a straight set victory at Buena Vista.
  • Senior setter Mallary Erbes ranks sixth in career assists.
  • Senior outside hitter Lizzy Blough totaled 289 kills in 72 sets played, averaging 4.01 kills per set.