No. 1 Washington-St. Louis dethroned by No. 7 Hope in five-set thriller
Springfield, Ohio -- No. 7 Hope dethroned No. 1 Washington-St. Louis at the Wittenberg Fall Classic. After the Bears took a 2-1 lead in the match, Hope won the fourth set (25-20) to force a deciding set. In the final set, the teams battled point-for-point until Hope took a 13-11 lead on back-to-back kills. A solo block by Fisher, followed by a block by Hargrave and Nelligan, brought the Bears even at 13-13. A kill by Hargrave gave the Bears a match-point opportunity (14-13), but the Flying Dutch answered with a kill after a timeout to tie the score, 14-14. Hargrave hammered her fifth kill of the set to make it 15-14, but Hope got a sideout to again draw even, 15-15. The Flying Dutch managed back-to-back aces to end the set and win the match, 17-15.
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The two teams battled back-and-forth throughout the match, with three of the four sets decided by two points. Hope led by as many as 23-17 in the opening set before the Bears rallied to within 22-23. After a net violation was called on the Bears, Hargrave got a kill to bring Washington U. back to within 23-24 before another net violation gave Hope the 23-25 first-set win. Washington U. came back with a strong second set. With the score tied 8-8, the Bears ran off four-straight points to open up a four-point lead (12-8) behind strong serving by Marvi. Hope closed to within 13-11 after a hitting error by Washington U., but another four-point run by the Bears stretched the lead to six (17-11). Washington U. controlled the remainder of the set, and a kill by Hargrave gave the Bears a 25-18 win in the second set.
In the third set, Nelligan made a solo block to give Washington U. a 17-14 lead before Hope rallied to tie the score at 19-19. The Flying Dutch took the lead again and had set-point opportunities at 24-23 and 25-24, but the Bears answered with a kill by Tulloch on the first and a kill by Zastrow on the second made it 25-25. Zastrow then got an ace serve to put Washington U. in front, 26-25, and Byrne hit one between the blockers to end the set, 27-25, and put the Bears ahead 2-1 in the match. Hope led throughout the fourth set, eventually winning 25-20 to force the fifth set.
The Bears hit .234 in the match, including .412 in the fifth set (7-0-17). As a team, Washington U. also finished with season-highs of 114 digs and 12 blocks in the match. Hargrave led the Bears with a career-high 24 kills and three blocks, while Byrne also recorded double-digit kills with 16. Tulloch, Nelligan and Zastrow each finished with eight kills. Zastrow added a career-best 20 digs, while Nelligan finished with a career-best eight blocks, including six solo stops. Fisher tallied 50 assists and a career-high 17 digs. Marvi led Washington U. defensively with 26 digs, and Pang added 21.