Huskies Top Cats For First Tough Road Win
Sept. 22, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. - Road wins in the Pac-12 conference are a treasured commodity, so the fifth-ranked Husky volleyball team is feeling good after leaving the McKale Center with a 3-1 win tonight over Arizona. Outside hitters Krista Vansant (15 kills) and Kylin Muñoz (14 kills) each hit over .300 to lead Washington (11-0, 2-0 Pac-12) to a 25-16, 25-23, 18-25, 25-23 victory.
Washington halted a five-match win streak for Arizona (9-4, 1-1 Pac-12) while remaining unbeaten on the year, and setting the stage for next week's home matches against No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 USC.
Head Coach Jim McLaughlin was happy with the win but not satisfied with the overall level of play. "We played well in game one, then we played well at the end of the second and fourth sets. But we're not good start to finish yet and we've got to develop that," he said. "Ky Muñoz again was good, Kaleigh Nelson and Krista were good at the net. We played well enough to win the thing; we did not play great. When you lose the focus it's really hard to get it back so we have to keep it better. But despite that road wins are big in this conference so this was a good win."
The Huskies were just under the .300 mark as a team for the second straight match, hitting .292 while Arizona hit .248 for the night. The Huskies had a big edge in kills, 61 to 49, and had 53 digs to 51 for Arizona, just the third time they've out-dug an opponent this year. Junior Jenna Orlandini led the way in that regard with a season-high 21 digs. Washington had seven aces to three for Arizona, but gave up 15 service errors while the Wildcats missed just eight. A season-high eight block assists from freshman Lianna Sybeldon helped UW out-block UA, 10.5 to 5.5.
Washington started three freshmen, with Katy Beals, Cassie Strickland, and Sybeldon all getting the start this evening. All three would have a big impact, as Beals had a season-high 28 assists and matched her season-highs with four aces (three straight in a critical second set run), and seven digs. Strickland had one of her most productive nights with five kills on nine swings without an error, and Sybeldon added five kills to her eight blocks.
In set one, Strickland had a couple early kills as UW came out of the gates well. Leading 10-9, Washington suddenly reeled off a six-point run to break the first set wide open and force Arizona to take both of its timeouts. Orlandini served the streak, as Sybeldon had a couple key blocks teaming with Vansant on one side and Muñoz on the other. Vansant finished a couple points in the streak and Orlandini capped it with an ace for a 16-9 lead. Sybeldon posted a couple kills out of the middle to make it 18-10. Jenni Nogueras set Kaleigh Nelson for a big rip, and then Nogueras set Parker for another kill and a 21-11 lead. Parker then got a set from Beals to finish the first set off with a tip, as the Huskies came away with the 25-16 win. The Dawgs hit .464 in the frame to just .103 for Arizona, with six different Huskies posting at least two kills.
Set two saw the Huskies fall behind in an early 1-4 hole, but Vansant and Muñoz started to rally the troops again with kills to cut the gap to one. Strickland had two more kills, both set by Nogueras, but a 3-0 run for Arizona made it 11-7 Wildcats and UW took timeout. Amanda Gil broke the run with a kill out of the middle, and then Strickland notched her lone ace of the night for 12-9. Muñoz and Vansant had consecutive kills and then teamed up for a triple block with Sybeldon to get the deficit down to one point once again at 13-12. Arizona got the side out, but then Vansant finished and UA misfired to get the Huskies back even at 14-all. The Cats then rebuilt a three-point lead at 19-16, but then the Huskies answered back without leaving the service line. Arizona missed serve and then Beals hit not one, not two, but three consecutive aces, targeting three different Wildcats, to put UW up 20-19. Arizona tied it twice, but each time, Muñoz and Vansant came back with kills to get the lead back, and then Muñoz hit another for a 23-21 edge. Again the Wildcats tied it at 23, but Muñoz killed a Beals set for set point, and Vansant stepped up on the next rally to put down a Nogueras set that ended it, 25-23. The Huskies hit .342 in the set, and Vansant and Muñoz had six kills apiece.
Down three points early in the third, the Huskies tied it on two straight blocks, one by Sybeldon and Vansant, and another by Sybeldon and Strickland. Vansant aced UA to make it 5-5, but the Huskies couldn't get ahead. Arizona got its block going and UW needed timeout as the deficit built to 15-10. Vansant and Sybeldon got a block out of the break, the Arizona answered back with two more points. Kills from Parker and Muñoz cut it back down to 18-14, and Arizona called time, but that was as close as the Huskies would get the rest of the set. Arizona handed the Huskies just their second set loss of the season, and the worst so far point-wise, 25-18. Arizona hit a scorching .522 in the third set, while UW dropped off to .156.
Again early in the fourth set, Arizona held the slight edge, but the Huskies wouldn't let them slip away. There were six tie scores in the first 20 points, with the Huskies taking their first lead since 1-0 at the 10-9 mark after an Arizona misfire. The fourth kill early in the set off the arm of Gabbi Parker gave the Huskies a 12-11 edge, and then Beals added her fourth ace of the night to make it a two-point edge for the first time in the set and force a Wildcats timeout. Beals kept the pressure on, as Arizona missed twice more and quickly called yet another timeout as UW led 15-11. Muñoz landed another kill for an 18-15 lead, but Arizona closed within one and forced a Husky T.O. at 18-17. Nelson finished out of the break, and Parker connected on a swing and then teamed with Gil for a huge stuff for a 21-18 lead. But Parker then went off target for a stretch, making three errors as Arizona suddenly tied it back up at 21. Gil stepped up in the clutch to get the lead back, and then Arizona missed a serve and made an attack error to bring up match point at 24-22. Strickland missed serve on the first chance, but then Muñoz put away the Beals set on the next point to clinch it, 25-23. Parker had five kills and Vansant and Muñoz had four each in the last set, as the Huskies hit .239 and held Arizona to a .167 attack percentage with Orlandini providing eight digs, and Nogueras getting six digs in the frame.