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No. 4 Washington Tops Westminster 3-1

No. 4 Washington Tops Westminster 3-1

From Washington University Athletics

The No. 4-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team extended its win streak to nine matches with a 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 25-16 win over Westminster College (Mo.) Wednesday evening at the WU Field House.

Westminster took an early lead in the first set and a kill by the Blue Jays made it 10-7. Junior Nkiru Udenze put away a kill to give the Bears a side-out and spark a 5-0 run that included a pair of ace serves by senior Lauren Yung to give the Bears a 12-10 lead. Washington U. extended the lead to 18-13 after a tip by sophomore Amanda Palucki and back-to-back kills by junior Jackie Nelligan. Westminster got to within two at 19-17 after an ace serve, but the Bears held on and kills by sophomore Alex Sheredy and Palucki gave Washington U. the 25-20 win in set one.

In the second set, Washington U. built a 6-3 lead, only to have Westminster score four straight points to take a 7-6 lead. After a tie at 9-9, back-to-back attacking errors by the Blue Jays made it 11-9 in favor of the Bears. Wesminster got a kill to pull to within 11-10, but a kill by Nelligan, followed by back-to-back blocks by Nelligan and Palucki extended the Bears' lead to 14-10. The Blue Jays tied the score at 21-21 and again at 22-22, but a serving error and a kill off the block by Udenze made it 24-22 in favor of Washington U. After a side-out by Westminster, a hit by the Blue Jays bounced off the antenna to give the Bears the 25-23 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.

Washington U. grabbed an early 9-4 lead in the third set when Udenze won a joust at the net, but the Bears committed four errors to help Westminster make a 7-0 run to take the lead. The Bears tied the score at 12-12, but the Blue Jays answered with back-to-back points to regain the lead for good, and went on to win 25-20 to force a fourth set. The Bears finally found their rhythm offensively in the fourth set, building a quick 8-0 lead behind Yung's serving, including her fourth and fifth aces of the match. The closest the Blue Jays got the remainder of the match was a five-point deficit at 9-4 as Washington U. finished the match with a 25-16 win in set four.

Washington U. hit .199 in the match, after posting a .394 attack percentage in the first set. Westminster finished with a .072 attack percentage, including .000 in the second set and -.028 in the fourth. Sophomore Caroline Dupont had a team-high 12 kills and three blocks, including four kills each in the first and fourth sets. Udenze added 11 kills. Nelligan tallied nine kills and six blocks, and Palucki finished with six kills, and career-highs of five digs and four blocks.

Sophomore Kalehua Katagiri led the Bears defensively with 17 digs, while Sheredy added nine and Yung finished with eight digs and a career-high five ace serves. Senior Lindsay Juriga just missed a double-double with 25 assists and nine digs, and junior Allison Zastrow recorded 16 assists, six digs and five kills.

Washington University improved to 17-2 with the win. The Bears have the weekend off before returning to action at Webster University Wednesday, Oct. 1. First serve is scheduled for 8 p.m. in Webster Groves, Mo.

Bear Notebook:  Washington U. leads the all-time series against Westminster 10-0 … The loss snapped Westminster's six-match win streak … The Bears are 9-1 at the WU Field House this season … Washington U. improved to 13-0 this season when winning the first two sets of a match … Nelligan's six blocks brought her career total to 250.