No. 13 WashU Drops Hard Fought NCAA Match with No. 11 IWU

Photo by Scott Margolin/WUSTL Photos
Photo by Scott Margolin/WUSTL Photos

Chicago, Ill., Nov. 10, 2018 –
The No. 13 Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team fell in a tightly contested 3-1 match during the NCAA Division III Second Round of the Tournament, falling to No. 11 Illinois Wesleyan University Saturday afternoon in Chicago.

WashU concluded its season with a 26-8 and Illinois Wesleyan improved to 27-5 while advancing to the Chicago Regional Championship to be played on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Bears combined for 10 blocks and the Titans finished with 7.5. The Bears and Titans previously met this season, with WashU claiming a five-set road victory on Sept. 5.

"Illinois Wesleyan had a really great game plan against us and they were able to take a lot of our offense that we're comfortable with out," said head coach Vanessa Walby. "They're a good team and work really hard on defense. I think we came out a little anxious but once we started calming down I think we started playing our system and style a bit better."

Junior middle hitter Leila King led the Bears with 11 kills, five blocks and a .318 hitting percentage. Junior libero Zoe Baxter totaled 14 digs to lead WashU and moved into third place all-time in program history with 1,707 digs.

Set 1: IWU 26 – WashU 24

King evened the first set score at 20-20 on a kill assisted by sophomore setter Kirby Knapp, before taking the lead on a bad Titan set. Senior middle hitter Julianne Malek had a kill and block assist with junior right side hitter Hannah Turner to push the Bears lead to 23-21.

The Titans called a timeout and responded with three straight points forcing a WashU timeout. The Bears scored the next point on a kill by Malek but IWU scored the final two points to take the 1-0 lead.

Set 2: IWU 25 – WashU 21

WashU and IWU were once again neck-in-neck during the second set. The Titans and Bears were tied up at 9-9 following a kill by sophomore outside hitter Tricia Brown, but IWU scored the next two points and did not allow WashU to pull even again.

Set 3: WashU 25 – IWU 18

Following a set tying point by IWU, 8-8, WashU pulled away in the third frame. The Bears scored seven of the next eight points. King had two blocks during the run to go along with an ace by senior defensive specialist Natalie Stephanus and a kill by senior outside hitter Ifeoma Ufondu.

Kills by freshman Michaela Bach and Turner down the stretch helped WashU claim the second set. The Bears held IWU to .048 in the third set.

Set 4: IWU 26 – WashU 24

WashU had six straight points to take an 8-5 advantage highlighted by a King and Ufondu block. The Titans followed with an 11-4 run and held a multi-point lead for the majority of the set until the Bears postponed the conclusion with five straight points. A block by Malek and Brown helped WashU to tie the set at 24-24, but the Titans finished the match with the next two points following a timeout.

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