Hawaii is a hotbed for volleyball talent, and Washington University has taken full advantage.
Sophomore libero Hua Katagiri and recently graduated Kelly Pang (class of 2013), the volleyball team’s all-time digs leader, played for the same volleyball club in Hawaii under the same coach and went to high schools only 15 minutes away from each other.
The last four regular-season matchups between Washington University and Emory University in volleyball had gone a full five sets, with Wash. U. winning three of four tight matches. Fifth set number 5 came on Saturday, with the No. 7 Bears defeating the No. 3 Eagles in a battle for University Athletic Association supremacy.
Trailing 16-21 in the second set against No. 6 Juniata College, the No. 8 Washington University volleyball team was in danger of dropping its second match of the day after losing to No. 9 Elmhurst hours earlier on Friday at the Elmhurst Invite III.
The No. 4 Bears opened up conference play this weekend with games against Brandeis University, New York University and the University of Chicago. Despite sweeping both Brandeis and NYU on Saturday, the Bears were unable to beat rival Chicago in a Sunday matinee for the second-straight season. The loss snapped Wash. U.’s 12-game win streak and puts the Bears’ record at 20-3 on the season.
Sophomores Rexi Sheredy and Caroline Dupont are inching their way toward the Washington University Volleyball record book one kill at a time.
This weekend, the Bears entered the Elmhurst Invite II as the top-seeded opponent with other teams looking to play spoiler, but the Red and Green avoided upsets in convincing fashion by sweeping the tournament.
The Wittenberg Fall Classic started off rocky for the Bears with a narrow, five-set loss to No. 5 California Lutheran University, but the Red and Green recovered to reel off three consecutive victories against Calvin, Otterbein University and Heidelberg University.
Through eight matches of the 2014 season and another four sets against No. 5 Wittenberg University, the Washington University volleyball team had struggled to maintain consistency on offense. But in the fifth set against Wittenberg, the No. 12 Bears hit a blistering .846 attack percentage to upset the Tigers.
The team’s No. 11 ranking is its lowest ever in a preseason poll, but most of last year’s key players return and give the Bears hope for another run to a championship.
Vanessa Walby overtakes the No. 11-ranked Bears after a successful six-year stint at the University of Chicago, a University Athletic Association (UAA) conference rival.