Huskies Cap Long Day With Taming Of Tigers
Aug. 31, 2012
HOUSTON - After starting the day off with a sweep of a Big Ten power, the Husky volleyball team returned to a humid Fox Gym this evening and defeated a talented LSU squad out of the SEC, improving to 5-0 and taking the lead in the Tiger Classic. 12th-ranked UW topped the Tigers by scores of 25-21, 25-20, and 25-22.
LSU was the tourney host but matches were moved from Baton Rouge to Houston in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac. Still, Rice's small Fox Gym was full of a partisan LSU crowd, and temperatures were very hot after a day in the mid-90s, making for a tough environment. Washington answered, backing up its upset win over seventh-ranked Purdue, and now will come back tomorrow to take on Rice tomorrow at 9 a.m. Pacific time.
The Huskies outhit the Tigers, .222 to .098, led by efficient nights from sophomore Krista Vansant and senior Kylin Muñoz. Vansant had 13 kills for a fifth-straight double-figure total, and hit .345, while Muñoz hit .333 with nine kills. Senior Amanda Gil had five blocks and three kills, and her counterpart in the middle, Kelcey Dunaway, had three kills and four more blocks. Junior Jenni Nogueras put up a season-high 22 assists while freshman Katy Beals had 14 with many of her former high school teammates from Austin, Texas in attendance.
"LSU's a good team. They put pressure on us," said Head Coach Jim McLaughlin, "and I think we have to respond a bit better. You're not always just going to rip teams; there are ebbs and flows in every game and you have to withstand those. We need to learn how to stay on our highs longer. I don't like the feeling of playing on our heels, I want us to go for it, and if you make the errors, you make the errors. I think it's a valuable lesson for the team. LSU is physical and well-coached, so it's a good win."
UW took a brief 5-3 lead in set one after a Muñoz kill, but the Tigers answered with a 6-1 run to take a 9-6 lead. A 4-1 run from the Dawgs tied it up at 11. Gil had a tip down for the kill and Vansant punished another before Muñoz found more room with a tip to cap the run. But LSU regained control with a 5-1 run to move ahead 16-12 and force Washington to call timeout. Out of the break, junior Gabbi Parker finished on the left side and then Vansant sent one in, and after a bad set from LSU on the next point the deficit was quickly down to one. Parker then knotted it with back-to-back kills, and Kaleigh Nelson got UW back in front with a finish from Beals. LSU made a thrilling save of a Nelson swing but Beals went right back to Nelson on the next pass and she put it away for a 21-20 lead. LSU then went into the net on the next rally and was forced to call timeout. It was Vansant who shined over the final two points. She blasted away on the right for a kill and a 23-21 lead, and then had a great dig to set up a Muñoz kill for set point. Vansant then dialed up an ace to end it, 25-21. The sophomore led UW with five kills on eight swings without an error in the set, hitting .625 with the ace and five digs. UW hit .244 in the frame to .150 for LSU.
Perhaps owing to the tough first set loss, the Tigers came out and made a handful of errors to start the second set as UW jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Dunaway finished and then Vansant rocketed a back row swing for a kill, and after another miss into the net, LSU called timeout with the Huskies up, 8-2. Washington finally picked up its first block of the match for a 10-3 lead, as Gil and Nelson met Helen Boyle and put the shot back down off of her. Dunaway then scored back-to-back kills, one on a slide and another a quick set in transition for a 14-7 edge. UW kept extending the lead, as Nelson had a big finish and then teamed up with Gil for a block and a 19-10 edge. But things got dicey after that point. LSU earned three straight to force a UW timeout at 19-13, but after another Gil-Nelson block and a Vansant finish had it at 21-14, the Tigers had two more 3-0 spurts down the stretch to make it 23-20 at the closest point. Muñoz got UW to set point on a tough swing through the block, and then on the next rally, Gil was all over the Cati Leak swing for the block, assisted by Strickland, as UW closed it out, 25-20. Washington held LSU to -.029 in the set despite hitting just .154 itself. Dunaway killed all of her three swings and Gil was in on four blocks.
Set three was a battle throughout. Washington threatened to pull away a couple times but LSU hung on and kept coming back level. Beals snuck one over the net for her first kill, and then Vansant and Dunaway sniffed out the LSU attack for a block and a 9-6 lead, but LSU had a 3-0 run to tie it at 11-11. The Tigers earned a 15-14 lead but then Muñoz connected and UW went back ahead by one on a LSU error. The lead see-sawed back to LSU at 19-18, but UW took four of the next five points to force LSU's first timeout at 22-20. The Tigers then made another error right out of the break and went right back to their bench again. Washington got to match point on the arm of Parker, and then after LSU saved the first, Muñoz banged another off the defense and it ricocheted out of reach to cap things, 25-22. The Dawgs hit .244 in the final set, with LSU at .158. The Husky block was rolling with five rejections while LSU had just one.