St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 20, 2013 – The No. 11-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team closed its University Athletic Association (UAA) regular-season schedule with a three-set win over New York University (25-15, 25-21, 25-14) before rallying for a thrilling five-set win over No. 4 Emory University (25-18, 20-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-13) Sunday at the WU Field House.
Washington U. improved to 22-5 overall and 6-1 in the UAA. The Bears finished tied atop the UAA regular-season standings with No. 19 University of Chicago (19-8, 6-1 UAA). The Maroons will be the No. 1 seed at the UAA Championship with their head-to-head win over the Bears, while Washington U. will be No. 2 and Emory will be No. 3.
#11 Washington U. 3, New York U. 0
Washington U. fell behind 3-0 to start the match against NYU, but the Bears went on a 9-0 run to take control. The run included a pair of aces by senior Meghan Byrne and two kills by sophomore Nkiru Udenze. The Bears extended their lead to 15-6 after two kills by freshman Alex Sheredy and an ace by freshman Corey Salzer. Washington U. continued to control the set, and with a 23-15 lead, Byrne ended a long rally with a kill off the block to give the Bears a set-point opportunity. An attacking error by NYU ended the set as Washington U. earned the 25-15 win.
In the second set, NYU took advantage of eight attacking errors by Washington U., including three blocks for the Violets, to gain a 17-9 lead. A service error by the Bears made the score 19-12 in favor of NYU, but Washington U. cut the deficit to 20-16 after an attacking error by the Violets. Trailing 21-16, the Bears went on a 7-0 run with sophomore Cassie Wang serving to take a 23-21 lead. A kill by NYU made it 23-22, but back-to-back kills by Byrne gave the Bears the 25-21 win. Byrne had five kills in the Bears' final nine points of the set.
Washington U. held an 8-5 lead early in the third set, before a 4-0 run that included two kills and an ace by Sheredy, extended the lead to 12-5. The Violets pulled to within six at 15-9 on an attacking error by the Bears, but Washington U. answered with six straight points, including a kill and three aces by Byrne. Washington U. maintained a double-digit lead the remainder of the set, and a block by sophomore Allison Zastrow and freshman Emmy Koppe ended the match as the Bears won set three 25-14.
The Bears hit .217 as a team and recorded nine ace serves, while NYU finished with a .080 hitting percentage. Byrne had nine kills, five digs and a career-high five aces. Udenze also finished with nine kills, while hitting .444, and sophomore Jackie Nelligan added eight kills. Sheredy chipped in with seven kills and eight digs. Wang recorded a double-double with 23 assists and 10 digs. Salzer finished with a career-high 14 digs, while freshman Kalehua Katagiri added 12.
#11 Washington U. 3, #4 Emory 2
After dropping the second and third sets to fall behind 2-1 in the match, Washington U. stormed back to win set four and force a fifth set. In the fourth set, Emory took an early 6-2 lead on an ace serve. The Eagles extended their lead to 9-4, but Washington U. rallied to tie the score at 10-10 on a block by Nelligan and Udenze, before a kill by Udenze gave the Bears an 11-10 lead and forced a timeout by Emory. The Eagles regained a 15-13 lead, but a service error gave the Bears a sideout. After being outblocked 13-6 through that point in the match, the Bears got a big block from Udenze and freshman Caroline Dupont to tie it at 15-15. Washington U. continued its 7-0 run with back-to-back kills by Udenze and a kill by Dupont on an overpass as the Bears took a 20-15 lead. Emory cut the lead to 20-17, but a kill by Sheredy and back-to-back terminations by Dupont made it 23-17. Emory again pulled to within three (23-20), but Washington U. held onto its lead and a big swing by Byrne ended the set as Washington U. won 25-21 to force the fifth set.
In set five, Emory jumped out to a 6-2 lead. A kill by Leah Jacobs made it 8-4 in favor of the Eagles as the teams switched sides. An attacking error by Washington U. put the Eagles ahead 10-5, but an attacking error by the Eagles, followed by a block by Nelligan and Udenze and a kill by Byrne, brought the Bears to within 10-8. Emory scored three of the next four points to take a 13-9 lead, but a service error gave the Bears a sideout. Nelligan, who had just 38 serve attempts in her career, stepped back to serve for the Bears. A block by Dupont and Sheredy, followed by an attacking error by Emory's setter made it 13-12, and Nelligan dropped in an ace on a short floater to tie the score at 13-13. The Eagles' outside hitter mistimed her jump and was unable to attack the ball on the following rally, giving the Bears a match-point opportunity. Udenze and Dupont teamed up for the 10th block of the match by the Bears to seal the 15-13 come-from-behind win.
Dupont dominated the first set for the Bears, hammering seven kills on eight swings to help Washington U. hit .286 as a team. A kill by Dupont gave the Bears an early 7-2 lead, and a shot down the line by her made it 10-5 in favor of Washington U. The Eagles got their blocks going and rallied to tie the score at 11-11. The teams battled back and forth, but Washington U. did not relinquish the lead. Emory pulled to within one at 16-15, but a kill by Dupont, followed by a block by Zastrow and Nelligan made it 18-15 and forced a timeout by the Eagles. A service error by the Bears made it 21-18, but Washington U. scored the final four points of the set, including one kill each and a block by Sheredy and Dupont, to win 25-18.
The Eagles used five blocks to win the second set 25-20. With Emory leading 13-12, a kill by senior Tanya Marvi, followed by an ace by Sheredy and back-to-back kills by Byrne gave the Bears a 16-13 lead. A kill and back-to-back blocks by Emory tied the score at 16-16 and two more kills gave the Eagles the lead for good. Washington U. pulled to within 21-20 on a kill by Nelligan, but a kill, an ace and back-to-back blocks gave Emory the 25-20 win to even the match. The two teams traded leads throughout the third set before back-to-back kills gave Emory a 21-19 lead. A kill by Byrne made it 21-20, but Emory won four of the final five points to earn the 25-21 win and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Washington U. outhit Emory .217 to .183 in the match. The Eagles finished with a 13-10 advantage in blocks, but Washington U. recorded the final four blocks of the match. Four players finished with double-digit kills for the Bears, led by Dupont's 16 kills on .387 hitting. Udenze recorded 13 kills while hitting .308, while Byrne and Sheredy added 10 kills each and Nelligan finished with nine. Dupont and Nelligan also tallied five blocks apiece, while Udenze chipped in with four blocks and six digs. Wang finished with a career-high 35 assists and eight digs, while Zastrow had 18 assists. Katagiri led the Bears defensively with 16 digs. Sheredy just missed a double-double, tallying nine digs, while Salzer added eight.
Washington U. closes its regular-season schedule by hosting the Bears Invitational Friday-Saturday, Nov. 1-2, at the WU Field House. The Bears take on University of Michigan-Dearborn Nov. 1, before facing Wisconsin Lutheran College and Buffalo State College Nov. 2. Prior to the match against UM-Dearborn, Washington U. will honor its four seniors – Tessa Blood, Meghan Byrne, Tanya Marvi and Emily Tulloch.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series against both NYU (42-2) and Emory (47-8) … The Bears are 177-8 (.957) all-time in UAA Round Robin play, and 290-14 (.954) all-time in the UAA … Washington U. has posted a record of 450-49 (.902) at home since 1985, and is 14-1 at the WU Field House this season … The Bears are 4-5 against ranked teams this season … Washington U. improved to 4-2 in five-set matches this season, and each of the past three has been decided by two points in set five … Byrne became the 14th player in school history to surpass 1,200 kills, increasing her career total to 1,207.