WashU Falls in Close Battle with No. 3 CMS

Photo by Nathan Katz
Photo by Nathan Katz

St. Louis, Mo., September 13, 2019 – Washington University in St. Louis played host to several of the top Division III women's volleyball programs during the East-to-West Battle on Friday and the Bears suffered a tightly contested four-set loss to No. 3-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the WU Field House.

WashU dropped to 7-4 on the year as CMS improved to 9-1 with two victories Friday. The Bears and Athenas played to extra points in each of the first three sets, but WashU ultimately fell 27-25, 24-26, 25-27, 20-25. The teams were nearly identical in several categories, but CMS held the slight advantage in all but digs (71-69).

Junior Tricia Brown led the Bears with 14 kills on 31 attempts while also posting a team leading .323 hitting percentage. Junior Kirby Knapp totaled 38 assists and set a career-high with 18 digs. Senior Zoe Baxter (16), Brown (12) and sophomore Michaela Bach (11) also recorded double digit dig totals.

WashU fell behind 7-4 early in the opening set but three straight points evened the score. Brown found the floor on a dish by Knapp before an ace by Baxter and an attacking error by the Athenas knotted the score at 7-all. Neither team captured more than a single point lead until CMS' ace by Makenna Fall put the Athenas ahead 20-18.

WashU responded with the following three points and took a 21-20 advantage on an overball kill by senior Leila King. CMS retaliated with a 4-1 run to position itself with the set point on its side but WashU scored five of the next six points to claim the first set 27-25 on an ace by freshman Alaina Bohrer.

The Bears and Athenas traded leads six times in the second set. Brown and Bach tallied four kills apiece in the set but CMS scored three-consecutive points to end the frame with a 26-24 score. WashU finished with a .250 hitting percentage compared to the Athena's .229 mark.

Bohrer was dominant in the third set with four kills and no errors as well as a service ace that cut WashU's deficit to a single point, 13-12. Bach recorded an ace four points later to give WashU the lead, 15-14, but CMS worked its way to a 20-17 advantage. The Bears made final push to reclaim the lead, 23-22, on a kill by Bach but the Athenas edged WashU in extra points, 27-25, to take a two sets to one advantage.

CMS posted its top hitting percentage in the final set, successfully finding open court .278-percent of its attacks. The Athenas took a 5-0 advantage to start the set and despite WashU trimming the discrepancy to two points, 8-6, CMS won the set 25-20 and earned its second victory over an opponent from the University Athletic Association (UAA), previously defeating No. 1 Emory in straight sets. 

Bohrer and Bach each tallied 12 kills apiece and two aces each while King added nine kills. Bach and King added four block assists.

WashU will return to action Saturday, September 14 at 10 a.m. in the WU Field House with another Top-25 foe in No. 11 Trinity (Texas) University. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.