Washington-St. Louis sweeps to victory
Second-ranked Bears roll past Webster in first-round play
ST. LOUIS -- Second-ranked Washington-St. Louis advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 25-17, 25-9, 25-17 victory against Webster on Friday night at the WU Field House.
Webster, who captured its ninth St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) championship, ends its season with a 19-13 record. The Gorloks hit .032 (18-15-93) in the loss and had five reception errors.
Sophomore Meghan Byrne had the hot hand in the first set leading the Bears with five kills and a service ace. A kill by Byrne put the Bears out in front 14-9, and then a kill by sophomore Kaia Schwartz pushed the lead to 17-11 and forced Webster to call a timeout. Byrne pushed the advantage to 22-12 following a string of four consecutive service points, and then junior Drew Hargrave closed out the first set with her fourth kill of the set.
A fast start by Washington U. in the second set forced a timeout by Webster head coach Merry Graf with the Gorloks trailing 11-5. The Bears pushed the advantage following two consecutive kills by Schwartz to make it 16-5 and forced another timeout. Washington U. closed out the second set hitting .577 (17-2-26), as Hargrave had five kills and Schwartz added four.
Webster gained some momentum early in the third set, recording the first three points of the set. A kill by Byrne gave Washington U. the lead for good at 5-4 as the Bears won their 30th match this season by a 3-0 margin.
The Bears hit .304 (51-17-112) for the match and had five service aces. Byrne (11 kills), Schwartz (11 kills) and senior Lauren Budde (10 kills) each recorded double-figure kills for the Bears. Junior Marliee Fisher dished out 43 assists in the win, while junior Kelly Pang (14 digs) and Budde (12 digs) led the defensive effort.
“Marilee (Fisher) is having a great time running the offense because she has so manyoption,” Orlet said. “I think that’s what makes us difficult to defend against because you have no idea who is going to attack at any given time.”