St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 1, 2013 – Senior Tessa Blood led a balanced offensive attack that lifted the No. 8-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team to a 25-19, 26-24, 25-11 win over University of Michigan-Dearborn on Senior Night at the WU Field House Friday evening.
The Bears' four seniors – Blood, Meghan Byrne, Tanya Marvi and Emily Tulloch – combined for for 21 kills, 42 digs, nine blocks and three aces to lead Washington U. to the win. The group, who was honored for Senior Night prior to the match, has helped the Bears to an overall record of 123-15 (.891) and a 75-3 (.962) record at the WU Field House in their four-year careers.
The seniors made their presence known in the opening set, as a kill by Byrne, two kills by Blood, and a block by Blood and Tulloch accounted for the Bears' first four points. Michigan-Dearborn played evenly with the Bears to a 14-14 tie, but Washington U. used a 5-1 run, including three kills by Blood, to open up a 19-15 lead. The Bears led 20-17 before a kill by Byrne sparked a 4-0 run to make it 24-17. The Wolverines fought off two set-point opportunities for the Bears, but a solo block by Byrne ended the set as Washington U. won 25-19. Blood led the Bears with five kills on eight attacks in the opening set.
In the second set, Washington U. built an early 6-3 lead after an ace by sophomore Allison Zastrow, but UM-Dearborn answered with a 5-0 run to take an 8-6 lead. Two kills by freshman Caroline Dupont and Marvi's second ace of the match tied the score at 9-9. The teams traded leads until a hard kill by Dupont gave the Bears a 16-15 advantage. Three errors by the Bears gave UM-Dearborn the lead back at 18-16, but Washington U. rallied to regain the lead at 20-19. Four kills by Nia Martin helped the Wolverines get a pair of set-point opportunities at 24-22, but back-to-back kills by Dupont tied the score at 24-24. After a timeout by UM-Dearborn, freshman Alex Sheredy got a roll-shot to fall in the middle of the court, and a hard cross-court kill by Sheredy ended the 4-0 run for the Bears that gave them the 26-24 win in set two.
Washington U. controlled throughout the third set, jumping out to a 5-2 lead that forced a quick timeout by the Wolverines. The Bears extended their lead to 12-6 on another block by Tulloch and Blood. After taking their second timeout of the set, the Wolverines answered with three straight points, including back-to-back aces off the top of the net, to cut the Bears' lead to 12-9. Washington U. ended the match with a 13-2 run to seal the 25-11 win in set three.
Blood tallied a season-best 10 kills, five digs and four blocks, including a career-best two solo stops, in the win. Byrne, Dupont and Sheredy added nine kills each. Byrne and Sheredy also finished with nine digs apiece. Sophomore Cassie Wang posted a double-double of 22 assists and 10 kills, while Zastrow finished with 13 assists. Marvi led the Bears defensively with a season-best 21 digs, five assists and two aces. Tulloch tallied a career-best seven digs to go with her two kills and three blocks.
Washington U. (23-5) closes its regular-season home schedule with a pair of matches Saturday in the Bears Invitational. The Bears take on Wisconsin Lutheran College at 10 a.m., followed by a match against Buffalo State College at 12:15 p.m.
Bear Notebook: It was the first meeting in school history between Washington U. and Michigan-Dearborn … Washington U. has posted a record of 451-49 (.902) at home since 1985, and is 15-1 at the WU Field House this season … The Bears have won their last nine matches in a row; WUSTL has posted double-digit win streaks in each season since 2000.