No. 25 WashU Earns Another Top-25 Win in Split at Loras

Photo by Nathan Katz
Photo by Nathan Katz

Dubuque, Iowa, September 7, 2019 – The No. 25-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team finished off a strong weekend at the Loras Invitational Saturday afternoon, defeating No. 11 Gustavus Adolphus in straight sets before stumbling to the host Loras in five sets.

WashU exits the weekend with a 6-3 record, dropping Gustavus Adolphus to 4-3 while Loras improved to 7-1 on fresh legs during the Bears second match of the day. The Bears increased their all-time mark against the Gusties to 3-0, and dropped their first contest to the Duhawks in three meetings.

Match 1: WashU 3 – Gustavus Adolphus 0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-19)

Senior Leila King led the Bears attack with a .435 hitting percentage, converting 13 of 23 attacks, while junior Tricia Brown also posted a percentage above .400 when she tallied 15 kills on 34 attempts. Junior Kirby Knapp collected 33 assists and senior Zoe Baxter led the defensive effort with 17 digs. Brown added 14 digs as well for her first double-double of the season.

WashU held advantages in multiple categories over Gustavus Adolphus, including hitting percentage (.219-to-.070), kills (41-29) and digs (53-49).

Brown and King were dominant on the attack in the first set converting 12 of 19 attacks with no errors as the Bears totaled 17 points on kills. Brown and King capped off a 5-0 run with a block to put the Bears up 24-12. King sealed the first set victory 25-19 with an emphatic strike down the sideline.

WashU fell behind in the second set 8-3 before  multiple kills by Brown and a block by sophomore Caitlin Lorenz and Knapp trimmed the deficit to a single point. The Bears and Gusties were neck-and-neck for several minutes before WashU took a two-point lead, 18-16, following kills by Brown and King assisted by Knapp. The Bears doubled their lead to 21-17 on another series of kills by Brown and King. King tallied three of WashU's final four points on kills helping the Bears to a 25-18 second set victory and 2-0 match lead.

A couple kills by sophomore Michaela Bach helped WashU to pull away from the Gusties. Senior Hannah Turner and Lorenz had kills for the Bears down the final 5-2 run. WashU claimed the set 25-19 and the match victory for its fifth straight victory.

Match 2: WashU – Loras (20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 19-25, 13-15)

Brown led the Bears with 17 kills and 21 digs while King posted the top hitting percentage, converting .306 percent of her attacks. King tallied 15 kills, Bach 13 and freshman Alaina Bohrer 11 kills as four WashU attackers reached double figure totals. Knapp steered the attack with 52 assists while also contributing 14 digs.

Freshman Taryn Gurbach also tallied 14 digs for the Bears defense. King and Lorenz tallied four blocks apiece while Bohrer led the way with five.

The Duhawks came out swinging in the first set, totaling 16 kills compared to the Bears 12. WashU nearly matched its kill total with attack errors (nine) as Loras held a distinct advantage in hitting percentage (.412-to-.071). The Duhawks claimed the first set 25-20.

Loras continued its momentum in the second set with the first three points but WashU quickly worked its way back and scored four straight points including kills by Bach and Bohrer and a block by Bach and Lorenz. Back-to-back kills by Brown gave WashU a six-point edge, 13-7, but Loras evented the match up at 19-all. The Bears remained calm and kills by Brown, Bohrer and King accounted for three of WashU's final six points. WashU evened the match at 1-1 and outhit the Duhawks .255-to-.209 in the second frame.

WashU went on a 7-3 run midway through the third set to take a 16-11 lead over the host institution. The Bears attack came from a variety of sources in that stretch with Bach, Bohrer, Brown and King contributing kills. The five-point advantage remained true on a kills by Bohrer for a 22-17 lead, and a block by Bohrer and King to seal the 25-20 victory. The Bears totaled six blocks in the frame en route to a .312-to-.119 hitting percentage advantage.

The Red & Green kept pace with the Duhawks for much of the fourth set including a kill by Bach that knotted the score at 18-18, but Loras notched seven of the final eight points. The Duhawks outhit WashU .364-to-.243 to force a fifth and final set.

Loras built a 6-1 lead in the fifth set before WashU started chipping away at the Duhawk lead in the shortened 15-point winner-take-all frame. WashU rallied to within one-point, 14-13, on a kill by Bohrer ultimately fell 15-13.

WashU returns home for a four-match homestand, first hosting Westminster on Tuesday, September 10 at 7 p.m. The Bears follow the single match with hosting responsibilities for the East to West Challenge in which it faces No. 5 Claremont-M-S, No. 7 Trinity (Texas) and Cal Lutheran. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.