Byrne
UWSTL

ELMHURST, Ill. – Washington (Mo.) earned a 3-0 win against Chicago Saturday to advance to the 2012 NCAA Regional Championship.

The Bears (31-3) earned a 25-23, 25-23, 25-20 win against the Maroons in the third meeting between the two teams this season. Washington will play No. 9 Elmhurst Sunday in the regional championship.

In the first set, a kill by Chicago brought the Bears to within 7-4, but Washington got the next point with a kill by junior outside hitter Meghan Byrne. The Bears added three more points, including a solo block and a kill by freshman middle hitter Jackie Nelligan, to build an 11-4 lead.

After a block by junior middle hitter Emily Tulloch and freshman right-side hitter Nkiru Udenze made the score 16-9, Chicago went on a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 16-14. A kill by Byrne ended the rally with the Bears on top 17-14. Udenze recorded a kill to give the Bears a set-point opportunity at 24-21. Chicago scored two points in a row to get to within 24-23, but a roll shot by Byrne gave Washington the 25-23 win in the first set.

Washington grabbed an early lead in the second set with a solo block by freshman setter Allison Zastrow, giving the Bears a 10-6 lead. The Maroons closed the gap to two (11-9) after an attacking error by the Bears. Thee consecutive points, including two kills by Tulloch, extended the lead to 14-9. Chicago got to within one, but was unable overtake the Bears’ lead through the remainder of the set. Byrne again ended the set at 25-23.

Chicago took its second lead of the match at 4-3 in the third set before a 5-0 run by the Bears made it 8-4 in their favor. The Maroons kept the score close with five service errors by the Bears in the set, but Washington pulled away for the 25-20 win to seal the match victory.

Washington U. hit .270 in the match, while holding Chicago to .175 hitting, including .000 (7-7-25) in the third set. Byrne and senior outside hitter Drew Hargrave each recorded 12 kills to lead the Bears, while Udenze and Nelligan each finished with seven. Zastrow had a career-high 41 assists and seven digs. Junior defensive specialist Tanya Marvi led the Bears defensively with 10 digs, while Udenze and senior libero Kelly Pang each finished with nine.