Waltham, Mass., Sept. 29, 2018 – Senior middle hitter Julianne Malek exceeded 25 kills to help lead the No. 8-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team to a 2-0 start in University Athletic Association (UAA) play at the Round Robin #1 hosted by Brandeis University Saturday afternoon.
WashU improved to 11-3 on the year overall, while dropping Case Western Reserve (11-8, 0-2 UAA) and Brandeis (7-8, 0-2 UAA) in straight sets. The Bears attack posted just its second hitting percentage above .300 for the season in the victory over Brandies, finishing with a .319 clip.
Match 1: WashU 3 – CWRU 0 (25-19, 25-19, 30-28)
In addition to posting great attack totals, Malek helped the Bears to an early advantage from the service line. Consecutive aces gave WashU a 6-2 edge over the Spartans. CWRU rallied to tie the set at 17-all. The Bears responded with an 8-2 run to close out the first set on an ace by senior Lauren Martin.
The Spartans went ahead 4-2 on a kill by Faith Ellis but a kill from senior Ifeoma Ufondu sparked four straight points by the Bears which was capped off by consecutive aces by Malek once again. Malek sealed the set at 25-19 with a kill set by sophomore Kirby Knapp.
WashU and CWRU never separated by more than four points as the Bears took their largest lead on a kill by junior Leila King, 15-11. The Spartans rallied to take a 23-20 edge late in the set before an error and a pair of Ufondu kills evened the score. WashU and CWRU traded leads five times in the final 15 points of the set. Malek tied the score at 28-all before consecutive Spartan errors ended the match.
Malek ended the match with 15 kills and a .590 hitting percentage while Ufondu (13) and King (10) reached double figures in kills too. King added three blocks as senior Natalie Stephanus and sophomore Tricia Brown had 11 digs apiece.
Match 2: WashU 3 – Brandeis 0 (25-20, 25-10, 25-23)
Malek continued where she left off with 11 kills and a .421 hitting percentage while Ufondu added 14 kills. WashU's attack finished the match with a .319 hitting percentage, totaling 42 kills in 94 attempts.
A block by King and Ufondu capped six straight points for the Bears to push them ahead 11-4 in the first set. The Judges rallied to within two points in the first set but Brown's kill initiated WashU's final run to a 25-20 first set win.
The Bears dominated the second set of play cruising to a 25-10 win behind 13 kills and four aces.
WashU worked its way to a 8-1 edge in the third set and appeared to be on its way to closing out the match easily, but Brandeis responded with a 13-5 run to take the lead. The Bears reclaimed the lead on a kill by Ufondu and a Malek ace gave the Bears a 19-15 advantage. Malek ended the match with a kill assisted by Knapp.
WashU will continue UAA play Sunday, Sept. 30 against No. 14 Chicago at 12 p.m. (ET). Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.