No. 3 Washington-St. Louis Falls to No. 2 Emory, 3-1; Holds Off Chicago, 3-2


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WALTHAM, Mass. - The No. 4 Washington University in volleyball team had its nine-match winning streak snapped by No. 2 Emory University during the morning session of the second regular season University Athletic Association round robin on Saturday, Oct. 18, in Waltham, Mass. The Bears rebounded from the loss to pick up a 3-2 win over the University of Chicago on Saturday afternoon.

The Bears got off to a fast start against Emory, taking the first set by a score of 25-21. Senior Alli Alberts was the force behind the Washington U. offense, tallying a team-high six kills during the first frame, en route to compiling a career-best 17 kills in the match.

WU opened an early 7-3 lead in the first set on a cross-court kill by senior outside hitter Ali Crouch. Undaunted, Emory drew to within one-point on two occasions, but a block by freshman middle hitter Erin Kasson and Alberts brought the score to 20-18, and propelled the Red and Green to a win.

Emory came out of the break to take an 8-4 lead over the Bears in the second set, due in large part to several WU mistakes. The Bears never fully recovered from the early deficit and the Eagles won the second frame, 25-18.  The third set featured runs by both teams in the early going, but it was a tremendous scoring run by Emory that made the difference. Trailing 13-11, Emory's Kelsey Freeman stepped to the service line and led the Eagles during a 12-0 scoring stretch that pushed the third set out of reach.

Washington U. nearly forced a deciding fifth set but came up just short, losing the fourth frame, 27-25. The Bears twice took four-point leads over the Eagles, and during the second instance, 22-18, it appeared as if a fifth-set was imminent. But Emory fought back and won five of the next six points to tie the score at 23-23.

An ace from senior setter Audra Janak gave the Bears match point at 24-23, but Janak's next serve was an error, tying the score once again. After the teams traded two more points, Emory clinched the match with consecutive kills.
Senior right side Nikki Morrison joined Alberts in recording double-digit kills with 10, but she hit an uncharacteristic six attack errors in the loss. The Bears hit .197 as a team and fell to 41-3 all-time against Emory.

Washington University appeared to be rebounding well when they took the court against Chicago in the afternoon, surging to a 2-0 lead in the match with 25-15 and 25-11 victories. Morrison was on fire in the second set, terminating her first eight attacks and finishing the frame with eight kills on nine attacks.
However, somewhere between the second and third sets the Bears lost the momentum and Chicago came back to force a decisive fifth set.  The Bears' inability to put the match away was due in large part to their struggles serving. Washington U. had 18 serving errors through the first four sets.

The Red and Green got back on track in the final set, winning 15-7 with a .400 attack percentage. The team had no serving errors in the final frame, just two attack errors, and Morrison added four more kills to her match-high total of 17.

Junior middle hitter Erin Albers hit .500 in the win with 13 kills on 24 attacks and just a single error. Freshman outside hitter Kristen Thomas also reached double digits in kills with 11 while hitting .409. Starting at libero for the second time this season, freshman Tricia Brandt eclipsed her career-high in digs with 23, and Janak nearly recorded her second triple-double of the year, with 55 assists, 10 digs and seven kills.

Washington University (20-5, 4-1 UAA) will conclude regular season UAA action and attempt to secure the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament on Sunday, Oct. 19, in Waltham, Mass. The Bears will take on round robin host Brandeis University at 9 a.m. (ET), and New York University at 11:30 a.m. (ET).

The 2008 UAA Championship will be hosted by Washington University from Friday-Saturday, Nov. 7-8, in St. Louis, Mo.

Article courtesy of Washington-St. Louis athletics.

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