St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 31, 2014 – The No. 11-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team closed out the Labor Day Classic by winning a pair of three-set matches against Hanover College and Fontbonne University Sunday afternoon at the WU Field House. The Bears won 25-21, 25-21, 25-15 against Hanover, and followed with a 25-12, 25-15, 25-14 victory over Fontbonne to finish the three-day tournament.
Junior Nkiru Udenze was selected to the Labor Day Classic All-Tournament Team after totaling 48 kills while hitting a team-best .324 in the Bears' six matches on the weekend. Udenze was joined on the all-tournament team by Maddie Bardole of Buena Vista University, Lynsey Wehrenberg of Fontbonne, Allyson Mitchell of Greenville College, Rachel Regenauer of Hanover, Kara Kentner of Loras College, and Alexa Rosenau of Nebraska Wesleyan.
Washington U. 3, Hanover 0
The Bears and Panthers played evenly through much of the first set before Hanover took its first lead at 19-18 on a kill by Regenauer to force a Washington U. timeout. After the timeout, Udenze hammered a kill to tie the score. Sophomore Caroline Dupont followed with a solo block to give the Bears the lead back, and an ace by senior Lauren Yung and kill by Dupont gave Washington U. a three-point cushion at 22-19. A kill by junior Allison Zastrow gave the Bears the 25-21 win in set one. Udenze finished with four kills on five attacks in the first set for the Bears.
In the second set, Washington U. built an 8-3 lead early, and extended the lead to 14-10 before a four-point run by Hanover tied the score. The Panthers took their first lead of the set with a three-point run that gave them an 18-16 advantage. Washington U. answered by winning six of the next seven points to turn the deficit into a 22-19 lead. Hanover got to within two on a side-out, but the Bears maintained the lead and a kill by Udenze gave them a 25-21 win to go ahead 2-0 in the match.
Washington U. put together its best offensive effort of the match in the third set, hitting .393 as a team with just two errors to seal the win. The teams traded runs through the first half of the set, and a kill by the Panthers brought them to within 11-9. A kill by freshman Alex Hammarskjold got a side-out for the Bears, and junior Anna Bryniarski served five straight points, including kills by Hammarskjold and Dupont, and a block by Zastrow and Dupont, to push the Bears' lead to 17-9. Seven points was as close as Hanover got the remainder of the match, and another kill by Zastrow finished it off as the Bears earned a 25-15 win in set three.
The Bears finished with a .344 (42-10-93) attack percentage in the match, and totaled eight service aces and eight blocks. Dupont, Udenze and sophomore Alex Sheredy finished with eight kills each, while all three hitting better than .425. Zastrow added seven kills on 15 swings. Junior Cassie Wang tallied 20 assists and eight digs, and senior Lindsay Juriga added 13 assists and four digs. Sophomore Kalehua Katagiri led the Bears defensively with 11 digs.
Washington U. 3, Fontbonne 0
The Bears had their way in the opening set against Fontbonne, hitting .533, including six kills by Zastrow in the set. Washington U. built a 5-1 lead early on two kills each by Udenze and Zastrow, but the Griffins battled back to tie at 7-7. Washington U. answered with a 15-4 run to open up a 22-11 lead. After a kill gave Fontbonne a side-out, sophomore Emma Fichtel got back-to-back kills and a tip by Sheredy finished the set as the Bears won 25-12.
In set two, the Bears took advantage of three attacking errors by Fontbonne to build an 8-1 lead, behind five straight points served by sophomore Corey Salzer. A 7-2 run by Fontbonne pulled the Griffins to within 16-11, but a service error ended the run, and Washington U. went on to win 25-15 in set two. The teams played evenly, with Washington U. holding a slight edge, to begin the third set. An ace serve for Fontbonne cut Washington U.'s lead to 9-7, but a kill by Fichtel gave the Bears a side-out. Hammarskjold followed with an ace for the first of her six consecutive points served as the Bears extended their lead to 16-7. Washington U. maintained the lead and a kill by Hammarskjold, followed by a kill by freshman Michelle Pagnon finished the match as Washington U. took the third set, 25-14.
The Bears hit .348 (47-15-92) in the match, with 13 different players recording kills. Hammarskjold led the way with eight kills, two aces and seven digs, while Zastrow tallied seven kills and 11 assists. Juriga finished with a team-best 16 assists, while Katagiri led the Bears defensively with nine digs.
Washington U. improved to 5-1 on the season with the two wins Sunday. The Bears return to action at the WU/ASICS National Invitational Friday-Saturday, Sept. 4-5, at the WU Field House. Washington U. takes on Southwestern University (Texas) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, before facing Wheaton College (Ill.) and No. 7 Wittenberg University Saturday.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. improved to 4-0 all-time against Hanover and 34-5 against Fontbonne … Freshmen Moira Mulholland, Pagnon and Sydney Woods saw their first collegiate action during the Fontbonne match … The Bears improved to 458-50 all-time at the WU Field House.