After an opening win, volleyball slows down, falls to No. 22 Berry, Hope
Two games: each decided in the fifth set; each a close, but painful loss for the Washington University volleyball team.
The team played their first games of the season on the road at Transylvania University this past weekend.They opened up the trip with a dominant showing against the host team, Transylvania. The Bears jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead due to some stellar play at the net from seniors Julianne Malek and Ifeoma Ufondu and junior Hannah Turner. The lead ballooned to six points after a pair of errors from Transylvania, but the Pioneers erased the gap quickly to take a 23-22 lead. Transylvania would wind up winning the set, 26-24. The second set began as the first ended: closely contested. The Bears and the Pioneers were neck and neck through the first 19 points of the set, with Transylvania having a brief edge. Two kills from sophomore Tricia Brown and an ace by junior Zoe Baxter gave Wash. U. a small edge, which they’d hold onto for the rest of the set, winning 25-20. The next two sets were taken by the Bears in impressive fashion. Down the stretch, Wash U pulled away in the third set, leading 18-9 at one point and winning the whole set 25-15. In the fourth set, Transylvania was up 5-2 before a nine-point run by the Bears put them ahead 11-5. The Pioneers pulled closer a few times in the set, but Wash. U held strong to take the set, 25-18.
The next day, the Bears played a double header against No. 25 Berry University and Hope College. Wash. U. began the first match against Berry hot, taking a 14-5 lead. Berry managed to tie the set at 23, but kills by Malek and Turner ended the comeback and the set, 25-23. The second set was a lopsided affair in Wash. U.’s favor. After the Bears jumped out to a 4-0 lead, Berry wasn’t able to come any closer than a 2-point gap. The Bears would take the set, 25-17. The Vikings started to heat up in the third set. They held the lead for most of the set. Brown tied it at 16-16 and once more, but Berry took four of the last five points to claim the set, 20-25. Berry began the fourth set energized and took a commanding 9-0 lead. The Bears came within two points after an 8-0 run, but they couldn’t finish the rally and fell, 21-25. The deciding set was a dead heat, with Wash. U. constantly evening up the score after Berry pulled ahead. Through 22 points, the score was 11-11. Berry was able to narrowly edge Wash. U., 12-15, and the claim the match, 2-3.
Against Hope, the Bears had a pair of impressive sets to take a 2-1 lead. In the first set, Ufondu had four kills as the Bears coasted to an easy 25-15 victory. The second set was much closer down the stretch. Junior Leila King recorded a solo block to give the Bears a 25-24 lead. Hope was able to claim five of the next seven points, winning the equalizing set, 27-29. Set three was close through 25 points, with the Bears maintaining a 13-12 lead. They closed the set with a 9-3 run and took it, 25-19. The Bears and the Flying Dutch traded runs in the fourth set. After a 5-point run, the Red and Green were within two points of the lead, 21-23. Hope was able to take five of the last six for the win. The Flying Dutch were electric in the last set. Their eight-point run all but sealed the match, 5-12. The Bears had a few more kills, but Hope claimed the set and match, 7-15 and 2-3, respectively.
The Bears took on No. 10 Illinois-Wesleyan on Wednesday, taking home a dramatic five set victory.
The Red and Green will open their home schedule on Friday against Nebraska-Wesleyan.