Nov. 13, 2009

Courtesy of Washington-St. Louis

St. Louis, Mo., November 12, 2009 – The No. 4 Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team posted a 3-1 (25-17, 25-14, 25-27, 25-15) victory over Webster University in the opening round of the 2009 NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship on Thursday, Nov. 12, at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo.

With the win, Washington U. improves to 80-14 all-time in NCAA Tournament action, while Webster falls to 0-4 in the NCAA Tournament. The Bears qualified for the NCAA Tournament as an at-large selection out of the University Athletic Association (UAA), while Webster was an automatic qualifier from the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) after winning the conference title for a fourth year in a row.

Washington University will face Saint Mary’s University (Minn.) in the Central Region semifinals on Friday, Nov. 13, at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo., at 7 p.m. Saint Mary’s, out of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), is competing in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history and the first time since 2000. The Cardinals defeated Thomas More College, 3-1, earlier on Thursday. It will be the first meeting in school history between Washington U. and St. Mary’s.

The Washington University middle hitters made the difference in the opening set, as the duo of senior Erin Albers and sophomore Lauren Budde accounted for eight of the team’s 16 kills in the first set, tallying four apiece. Washington U. registered two team blocks in the opening frame and held Webster to an .062 team hitting percentage.   

Webster converted its first four attacks of the second set for scores and tallied a pair of service aces to jump out to a 7-2 lead early in the second set, forcing Washington University head coach Rich Luenemann to call timeout. Coming out of the break, freshman Drew Hargrave notched her fourth kill of the match to spark what turned into a 6-0 Washington U. scoring run, that ended with freshman Madeleine Shroyer blocking down an attack from Webster’s Abby Williams.

Budde led the Bears with four kills in the second set and the Red and Green tallied five team blocks, with freshman setter Marilee Fisher totaling three block assists and Albers finishing with a solo block and a pair of assists. The Washington U. defense held Webster to a team-hitting percentage of .026 in the second frame, and senior Jackie Schall paced the Gorloks with four kills.

Webster assumed early control of the third set by breaking open a 4-4 tie with an 8-1 scoring run that featured four Washington University attack errors. The Gorloks led 12-5 before a kill from Budde put the Bears back on track.

Scoring 10 of the next 14 points, Washington U. steadily climbed back into the third set, and Albers and Shroyer each had a pair of kills during the run. Still leading by one point, 16-15, Webster called a timeout to stop the Bears’ momentum and managed to pull back ahead by three points after a kill from senior middle hitter Kaylee Schaefer.

Budde took over for the next stretch of the third, notching three-straight kills to tie the match at 20-20. Junior Marya Kaminski tallied her third kill of the match to put WU back in front, 22-21, but Webster did not back down, and a kill from  Williams, her fourth of the match, clinched a 27-25 third-set win for the Gorloks.

The Bears responded by quickly jumping out to a 10-5 lead in the fourth set and kills from Shroyer, sophomore outside hitter Kristen Thomas and Albers pushed the WU lead to 14-6. Washington U. went on to take the fourth set by 10 points to advance to the regional semifinal round for a 23rd-straight year.

Budde set a new career-high with 22 kills against Webster, and Albers finished with 16 kills. Washington U. hit .291 in the win, while Webster hit .099. Schall led the Gorloks with seven kills and Williams and Larson tallied six apiece.

Bear Notebook: With 19 digs on Thursday, freshman Kelly Pang now needs just 11 more to set a new Washington University single-season record of 607 … Albers’ 16 kills brought her career total to 977, leaving her just 23 shy of 1,000 for her career … Washington U. improves to 16-0 all-time against Webster. \