No. 12 WashU Volleyball Falls to No. 3 Wittenberg on the Road

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

Springfield, Ohio, Sept. 16, 2017 – The No. 12-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team fell in four sets to No. 3-ranked Wittenberg University Saturday afternoon.

Despite the Bears taking the first set 25-22 from the tournament host, the Tigers captured the next three consecutive sets 25-14, 25-17 and 25-15. WashU falls to 6-5 on the season while Wittenberg improved to 8-0 on the year.

The Tigers held advantages in several categories including hitting percentage (.281 – .122), kills (54 – 41), service aces (10 – 1) and digs (67 – 63). Junior Julianne Malek posted a game-high .647 hitting percentage with 12 kills and one error in 17 attempts, but overall the Bears committed 24 errors to the Tigers 15.

Junior Ifeoma Ufondu and sophomore Leila King contributed eight kills apiece while freshman Kirby Knapp recorded 21 assists, with fellow freshman Alison Almgren-Bell chipped in 14.

Sophomore Zoe Baxter recorded her third 20 dig performance of the season, ultimately leading the Bears with 22 in total as Ufondu also reached double figures with 15. The Bears also finished the match with three individuals contributing solo blocks: freshman Tricia Brown, King and Ufondu. Baxter was named to the Wittenberg Fall Classic All-Tournament team after recording 64 digs for an average of 5.82 digs per set.

Match Result: Wittenberg 3 – WashU 1 (25-22, 14-25, 17-25, 15-25)

Both teams battled back and forth in the first set, with neither side seizing a sizeable lead until the Bears went on a 4-0 run. King's kill put the Bears ahead 14-13 to start the run prior to Brown adding one of her own that made the score 17-13.

WashU worked its way to within a single point of winning the frame on a kill by Ufondu on an assist by Knapp but Wittenberg rallied within two points, 24-22. Malek recorded one of her 12 kills on the day to close out the set in favor of the Bears, 25-22.

The Bears trailed by a single point early on in the second set before Wittenberg pulled away with several small runs. WashU rallied within four points twice but the Tigers evened the match at one set apiece with a 25-14 second set victory.

Kills from Malek, Ufondu and King helped the Bears claim a 5-4 edge in the third set but Wittenberg swung the set in its favor with a 7-0 run. The Tigers took the third set 25-17.

WashU held pace with Wittenberg more than halfway through the fourth set, trailing 14-13. Kills by Malek, Ufondu and King as well as a block by Ufondu kept the Bears within reach until the Tigers scored seven unanswered points to claim control of the set, ultimately winning 25-15.

The Bears will next compete in the Barker Chevrolet Classic II, hosted by Illinois Wesleyan on Friday, Sept. 22 against Tufts University and Cornell College. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.