ST. LOUIS -- Washington University in St. Louis' top-ranked volleyball team knocked off Trinity University (Texas), 3-1, and the University of La Verne, 3-2, to win the third annual Teri Clemens Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 17, at the WU Field House. The two wins gave WU its first Teri Clemens Invitational title and vaulted it to 11-0 on the season.

Things looked bleak for the Bears in the match against eighth-ranked La Verne, as the Leopards jumped out to a 2-0 lead by taking games one and two, 30-27 and 30-22. The score was tied at 26-26 in the first game, and in game two, WU and La Verne were at a 15-15 standstill when the Leopards reeled off nine unanswered points to quiet the Field House.

WU rebounded in game three behind sophomore Emilie Walk, who pounded out nine kills in the frame to lead WU to a 30-16 win. With the score tied at 14-14 in game four, the Bears went on a 5-0 run. La Verne rallied to cut the deficit to one point (21-20) when Walk's two solo blocks book-ended junior Whitney Smith's kill to cap a 4-0 WU run. The Red and Green held on for a 30-27 win in the fourth, setting up their comeback.

As it had all match, WU battled from behind in the fifth frame. Down 7-3, the Bears scored the next 10 points, nine of which came on Smith's serve. Besides her 16 kills, Smith served a team-high 29 times without error and notched two aces. Washington U. completed the comeback with a 15-11 win in the final game.

The Bears began the day with a 30-23, 30-28, 28-30, 30-26 win against Trinity, the No. 13 team in the country. Though the offense struggled, WU's defense shined. Walkrecorded a team-best and career-high 11 total blocks (10 block assists), helping lead the Bears to 17 blocks for the match. Seniors Megan Houck (six blocks) and Kara Liefer (five blocks), and junior Amy Baum (five blocks) helped with that total.

Houck opened the first game with a hitting error for WU, but that would be her last attack error. She went on to post a team-best 20 kills on 32 swings, which was good for a .594 hitting percentage. Liefer contributed 54 set assists, while senior Nicole Hodgman registered 16 digs and junior Amy Bommarito added 18.

The Bears are 8-0 against ranked teams this season, including a 4-0 mark against the current top-10. Houck, Liefer and Smith were each named to the All-Tournament Team.

Washington U. returns to action Wednesday, Sept. 21 at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Match time is set for 7 p.m.

-- Courtesy Washington University