No. 4 Washington-St. Louis Sweep Endicott and Williams at WU Invitational II

10/10/2008

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The No. 4 Washington University volleyball team opened play in the Washington University Invitational II with sweeps over Endicott College and Williams College at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo., on Friday night.

Although Washington University did not play its most efficient match of the year, the Bears did pull out a sweep over Endicott in the first contest of the day. Senior outside hitter Alli Alberts, who was named the Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III National Player of the Week on Tuesday, led the Red and Green in the win over the Gulls. She tallied a team-high nine kills while hitting .421 and gathering four digs.

Washington U. hit just .191 as a team, but took large leads in all three sets. WU jumped ahead 9-1 in the first set, but a late Endicott rally, aided by a rash of Washington U. attack errors, closed the gap and the Bears won only 25-17. A 5-0 Washington University scoring run broke a 4-4 tie in the second frame, and despite Endicott cutting its deficit to just one point, WU took the set, 25-19. The Red and Green scored the first seven points of the third frame and went on to post a 25-14 victory to clinch the match.

Using a soft touch as she found holes in the Endicott defense, sophomore middle hitter Nicole Penwill finished the match with seven kills, tying her career high, while hitting .462, and senior right side attacker Nikki Morrison hit .500, converting five of her 10 attack attempts. Freshman defensive specialist Tricia Brandt led the defense with 10 digs. Blocking also played a key role in the win, as the Bears sent back 10 Endicott attacks, with Penwill leading the way with three total blocks, one solo and four assisted.

In the nightcap, Williams led Washington U. in the early stages of the first set, and the Bears did not take their first lead until junior Erin Albers notched a kill to make the score 13-12. Williams managed to regain a two-point lead at 17-15, but WU grabbed the next six points en route to a 25-19 win.

The second frame was the Red and Green's most efficient offensively. The team quickly staked claim to a 6-1 lead on a spiked overpass by senior setter Audra Janak, as the Bears hit .333 in the six-point second-set victory. With the offense rolling, freshman middle hitter Erin Kasson managed five kills in seven swings and Janak dished out 12 assists.

A kill from senior outside hitter Ali Crouch gave WU a 9-4 lead in the final set as the Bears cruised to a 25-14 win. Washington U. did so despite struggling on the offensive end, hitting .111 as a team in the third frame with nine attack errors. However, stellar defense from Brandt, who started a libero for the first time this season, kept the Bears alive as she reeled in nine digs in the last set alone. She finished the match with a team-high 14 digs.
Morrison led the way in the win over Williams with nine kills, totaling three in each set. Janak, Albers and Crouch each finished with six kills apiece, and Janak had 29 assists.

Washington U. (17-4) concludes play in the Washington University Invitational II on Saturday, Oct. 11, at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo. The Bears open the day with No. 23 Christopher Newport University at 10 a.m., and close out the tournament against the Illinois Wesleyan University Titans at 2:30 p.m.

Article courtesy of Washington-St. Louis athletics.

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