One set away from capturing their first quarterfinal trip since 2010, the No. 7 Red and Green lost in the regional finals in front of a large crowd at the Field House on Sunday by a final score of 23-25, 25-19, 18-25, 27-25 and 15-12.
The Bears begin postseason play against Bluffton University on Friday at 8 p.m., with the winner facing the winner of Hendrix College versus Maryville College in the regional semifinals on Saturday. If the Bears can win their first two games, they could face University Athletic Association rival and No. 5 Emory University in the regional championship.
The No. 5 Bears (33-5 record) failed to capitalize on their momentum and lost in the semifinals to a pesky, unranked University of Chicago squad and finished third overall.
After playing one home game in the past seven weeks, the Washington University volleyball team returned to the Field House in impressive fashion, winning all four of the slated matches in straight sets for the first time since 2012.
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.