No. 3 Washington St. Louis Wins WU Invitational II


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ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The No. 4 Washington University volleyball team picked up two more wins on Saturday, Oct. 11, as the Bears won the WU Invitational II at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo. Washington U. swept No. 23 Christopher Newport University in the morning match, and ended the day with a 3-0 win over Illinois Wesleyan University, finishing the home tournament with a perfect 4-0 record.

Washington U. had three seniors named to the six-member WU Invitational II All-Tournament Team: outside hitter Alli Alberts, setter Audra Janak, and right side attacker Nikki Morrison. Alberts led the Bears with 34 kills, also totaling 24 digs and nine total blocks. Pacing the WU offense, Janak had 108 assists, 9.0 per set, 16 kills and 20 digs. Morrison was second on the team with 31 kills, but she hit a team-best .481 over the weekend.

With her team falling behind 10-14 in the first set with Christopher Newport, senior outside hitter Ali Crouch sparked a 7-0 Washington University scoring run with a string of three kills, turning the momentum to WU's favor.
The Bears scored 15 of the final 22 points in the frame to pick up a 25-21 opening set victory.

Three kills from Alberts in the early stages of the second set propelled the Red and Green to a 9-4 lead that turned into a 13-point victory, 25-12. Alberts finished the frame with four kills, and freshman Erin Kasson and Morrison both added three of their own in a set in which the Bears hit .440. Washington University kept rolling in the final set, winning 25-17 behind three kills from Crouch.

The Bears attacked .306 in the win, and Alberts led the way with 10 kills. Morrison hit .545 with seven kills in just 11 attempts and Kasson boasted a .500 attack percentage with six kills in 12 swings.

Against Illinois Wesleyan, Washington University needed a late scoring run to take a hotly contested first set, 25-21. Trailing for much of the frame as a result of some struggles defensively and with ball control, the Bears finally turned the tables on the Spartans with a solo block from Alberts that made the score 20-19. Alberts also played a key role offensively, tallying four kills, but Crouch was the most efficient attacker of the set, notching a team-high five kills on just six attacks.

The Red and Green took all of the drama out of the second set, leading from start to finish. Alberts continued her effective offensive play finishing with six kills in the 25-20 win. In the third set it was Janak's turn to shine as she led the Bears on an incredible 15-0 scoring run that began with the score tied at 8-8 and ended with Washington University holding a 23-8 lead. Janak had five aces during that stretch, and also managed to tally 10 assists and five digs in the 25-10 third-frame victory.

Alberts and Morrison both had double-digit kills against Illinois Wesleyan, with 11 and 10 respectively, but Morrison's 10 kills came on just 14 attempts, as she hit .714 in the match. Janak finished with 36 assists and nine digs, and junior libero Laura Brazeal had a team-high 11 digs. As a team the Bears hit .440, their second-best attack percentage of the year, and the team hit .400 or better for all three sets for the first time this season.

Up next for Washington U. (19-4) is the second regular season University Athletic Association (UAA) round robin, which will take place from Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 18-19, on the campus of Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. The Bears will open play against the defending UAA Champion, No. 3 Emory University on Oct. 18, at 10 a.m.

In 2007, Washington U. picked up a 3-2 win over the Eagles in the regular season, before falling by the same score in the conference title match. However, the Bears won the season series with their conference rival, as the Red and Green posted a 3-1 win over Emory in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. WU leads the all-time series with Emory, 41-2.

Article courtesy of Washington St. Louis athletics.

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