Nov. 7, 2009

Courtesy of Washington-St. Louis

Chicago, Ill., November 7, 2009 – The No. 3 Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team lost, 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-21), to No. 4 Emory University at the 2009 University Athletic Association Championship on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center in Chicago, Ill. Washington U. advanced to the UAA Championship match with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-14) win over New York University earlier in the day.
Washington University and Emory have met to decide 11 UAA Championships, and each of the last six. The Bears and Eagles are tied, 3-3, over the last six conference championship tilts. It is the first time Washington U. has been swept by Emory since the 2005 UAA Championship.
Saturday’s loss was the Bears’ first to an NCAA Division III opponent since a 3-0 setback against Ohio Northern University on Sept. 11, and the team’s first loss overall since they fell 3-1 at NCAA Division II University of Missouri-St. Louis on Sept. 22.
The Bears hit just .100 as a team in the opening frame against Emory when they were unable to overcome a late 7-2 Eagle scoring run. Washington U. trailed 13-10 before a kill from sophomore middle hitter Lauren Budde and an ace from freshman setter Meg Buker narrowed the gap to one.
Emory errors on back-to-back plays resulted in a tie game at 14-14, but Emory scored seven of the next nine points to break the set open, and the Eagles went o­n to win by seven points. Sophomore outside hitter Kristen Thomas has four kills in the first set and Budde added three.
The Bears committed four serving errors and a pair of service reception errors as they lost 25-19 in the second. Thomas and Budde were once again the most productive hitters, but Washington U. never managed to string a run together. Emory came out strong to start the third, leading 7-3 before Washington U. went on a 5-1 run to tie the set at 8-8.
However, that was all the momentum that Washington University could muster as Emory built an insurmountable lead. Offensively Washington U. played its best offensive volleyball in the third, tallying a match high 16 kills and hitting .256. Sophomore middle hitter Erin Albers had three of her four kills in the third and Budde added four, but it was not enough to lift the Bears to a win.
Budde led the Bears’ attack with 10 kills on .217 hitting. Thomas finished the match with nine kills while Buker and freshman Drew Hargrave each chipped in with five apiece. While the offense did not click, Washington U. also struggled on defense as the Bears did not feature one player with double-digit digs for the first time this season.
It was a different story as Washington U. swept New York earlier in the day. For the match the Red and Green hit .390 against the Maroons and Albers and Budde both tallied double-digit kills and hit better than .500. Albers had 13 kills while hitting .545, and Budde hit .579 with 12 kills.
WU used six team blocks, including three solo efforts from Albers to pick up a 25-13 win over New York in the first set. The second frame was all about offense, with the Bears hitting a match-high .486 while tallying 18 kills to just one error. Thomas had four kills in the second set, Budde had five and Albers led the way with six. Washington U. hit .355 in the third set, in which freshman libero Kelly Pang had two aces and Albers and junior Marya Kaminski each had three kills.
Buker recorded 35 assists against New York and Pang tallied 16 digs. The Bears finished the match with seven total blocks, four for Budde and three for Albers. Kaminski also notched a pair of block assists.
While WU has not officially qualified to compete in the NCAA Tournament, earlier in the week Washington University was selected as a regional host for the 2009 NCAA Division III Championship. The Bears are currently ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Central Region and will be hosting NCAA Tournament action for the first time since 2006. Washington U. has made 22-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and won an NCAA record nine national championships, the last coming in 2007.
The Bears will be hoping for an at-large berth when the NCAA Volleyball Committee will releases the 2009 NCAA Division III Tournament field via a selection show Webcast on Monday, Nov. 9, at 11 a.m. (ET).