Webster University Volleyball moved into a tie for first place in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings here Wednesday evening as the Gorloks collected a three-set victory over Greenville University (25-20, 25-18, 26-24) at H.J. Long Gymnasium to extend its win streak to eight consecutive matches.
With the victory, Webster improves to 12-7 overall and is tied for first place in the league standings with Greenville as both teams are now 10-2 in league play with six SLIAC matches remaining in the regular season.
Wednesday's match, which was billed as the SLIAC Game of the Week, helped the Gorloks extract some revenge on the Panthers as Greenville earned a three-set win over the Gorloks on Sept. 8. In that match, Greenville won 25-15, 25-5, 25-23.
In fact, since losing to both Greenville and Westminster at the Greenville Quadrangle on Sept. 8, Webster has reeled off 10 straight conference wins and has also won eight straight matches overall, all in straight sets. The 24 consecutive sets the Gorloks have won sets a new school record for consecutive sets won as it bettered the old mark of 22 set in 2007.
Webster's win was keyed by a strong offense that hit over .230 in the first two sets and finished the match outhitting the Panthers, .170 to .094. In addition, WU recorded eight aces to Greenville's three aces. On defense, Webster had 79 digs and both teams recorded four blocks in the match.
Over its last two matches, Webster has recorded 23 aces, including a season-high 15 aces last Saturday in its three-set home win over Blackburn.
Senior outside hitter Samantha Budrovich (St. Louis, Mo./Lutheran South) led the Gorloks with a double-double of 11 kills and 10 digs and also had two aces, while sophomore outside hitter Samantha Kruse (Waterloo, Ill./Waterloo) added eight kills, 12 digs, and a match-high four aces. Senior right side hitter Torie Grassi (St. Louis, Mo./Rosati-Kain) had seven kills and hit .304 in the win.
In addition to Budrovich's double-double, senior setter Kelsey Hamann (Waterloo, Ill./Waterloo) and junior setter Jenna Rodriguez (Smithton, Ill./Freeburg) each posted double-doubles as Hamann had 15 assists and 14 digs, while Rodriguez added 14 assists and 10 digs.
Defensively, sophomore libero Kristen Farrah (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell) extended her streak of double-digit matches to 24 as she finished with 29 in the match and is now 31 digs shy of becoming the 14th member of Webster's 1,000 Career Dig Club.
In the opening set, Webster jumped out to a 7-2 lead and led 7-4 when GU used a 3-2 run to pull within 9-6. The Gorloks, though, answered with a 5-1 run to take a 14-7. The Panthers responded with a 6-3 run to drop WU's lead to 17-13. Back-to-back kills from s Grassi pushed WU's lead to 19-13, before GU used a 5-3 run to pull within 22-18. The Gorloks would score three of the set's final five points to seal its 25-20 set win. In the set, Webster hit .231, while Greenville hit .130.
Greenville would jump out to a 5-3 lead and led 6-5 in the second set before the Gorloks used a 5-0 scoring run to take a 10-6 lead. The run was keyed by two kills apiece from Grassi and Budrovich. The Panthers, though, would score four of the next eight points to pull within 14-10, before WU used a 7-4 run to push out to a 21-13 lead. GU would fight back as they scored five straight points to move within three at 21-18, before the Gorloks scored the final four points of the set, including back-to-back aces from Budrovich, to earn a 25-18 win and take a 2-0 lead in the match. In the set, WU hit .242, while Greenville hit .200 and the Gorloks posted five of their eight aces.
The third set was a back-and-forth affair between two of the all-time winningest volleyball programs in the SLIAC. Greenville opened the set by scoring 10 of the first 15 points to take a 10-5 lead. WU would answer by scoring eight of the next 10 points to pull within 13-12. GU would tie the set at 14 thanks to back-to-back kills from Abby Freeman, before WU used kills from junior middle hitter Taylor Kissel (St. Louis, Mo./Lutheran South) and Budrovich to retake the lead at 16-14. The Panthers, though, would score three straight points to retake the lead at 17-16, before WU retied the set at 17 on a Panthers attack error. The teams would then trade points until GU used a 3-1 run to turn a 21-20 lead into a 24-21 advantage. The Gorloks would rally as they scored the set's final five points, including tying the set at 24 on an ace by Kruse, to post a 26-24 set win. In the set, WU hit .071 and GU finished with a .000 attack percentage.
Freeman led Greenville with 14 kills and 10 digs, while Emily Stahl added nine kills and hit .348 and Anna Finch chipped in with eight kills in the loss. Allyson Grabowski paced GU's defense with 22 digs.
The Gorloks will look to make it nine consecutive victories this coming Friday, Oct. 12 as they travel to Eureka, Ill, for a 6 p.m. match against Eureka College. Webster earned a four-set win over the Red Devils in Webster Groves on Sept. 18. In fact, Eureka is the last team to win a set against the Gorloks in SLIAC play this season.
STORY COURTESY OF WEBSTER UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION