No. 3 Volleyball Set to Begin 2017 Season this Weekend

Photo by Danny Reise/WUSTL Photo
Photo by Danny Reise/WUSTL Photo

St. Louis, Mo., August 29, 2017 - The No. 3-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team is gearing up for the season opening tournament in the WashU Field House on Friday. The Bears host six teams and begin their season on Friday at 6 p.m. against Rose-Hulman in the Bear Invitational.
Download the complete WashU game notes by clicking HERE (PDF).

PRESEASON NO. 3 - WashU was ranked No. 3 in the preseason American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III rankings. The Bears have been ranked in all 273 of the AVCA polls ever conducted.

BEAR INVITATIONAL - The Bears host six programs to open the 2017 season including Cornell College, #15 Hope College, Hendrix College, Dominican University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Webster University. Follow all of the tournament's action HERE.

CAPTAINS - The 2017 WashU volleyball program will be led by three team captains including senior Lauren Fournier and juniors Natalie Stephanus and Ifeoma Ufondu. Stephanus will remain on the sidelines this season as a student assistant coach.

ALL-UAA - Juniors Julianne Malek and Ifeoma Ufondu earned all-University Athletic Association (UAA) Second Team honors in 2016. Ufondu was second on the team in kills with 348, while Malek posted the second best hitting percentage of .313. In addition, Malek was one of only six players within the UAA to surpass 100 total blocks. Her total of 117 blocks ranked third within the UAA. She was also one of only three players in the conference to exceed 300 kills and total more than 100 blocks.

HOME COURT - WashU has posted a record of 491-54 (.901) at home since 1985. The Bears were 11-3 at the WU Field House in 2016.

NEXT IN LINE - The Bears have had at least one AVCA All-America honoree dating back to 1986, more than 30 consecutive years of being represented. WashU's two honorees from 2016, Caroline Dupont and Rexi Sheredy, have graduated. It marks the first year since 1999 that the Bears have entered a season without a returning All-America member.

FOLLOWING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP LOSS - WashU has made an NCAA Division III leading 15 National Championship matches, in which the Bears have won 10 and fallen short of the title five other times. The 2016 Bears advanced to the championship match before falling to Calvin College. Looking back at the four previous Bears teams to fall in the title match and see how they respond reveals that three teams won the following National Championship, including the 1991, 2003 and 2007 rosters.