Huskies Round Up Buffs In Three
Oct. 7, 2012
BOULDER, Colo. - The second-ranked Husky volleyball team was more physical and clinical than the Buffaloes today, thus Washington came out of Colorado's Coors Events Center with a 3-0 win to improve to 15-0 for the year and 6-0 in Pac-12 play. The Huskies hit .324 as a team and led in every statistical category, with Krista Vansant's 13 kills leading the way offensively.
UW got off to fast starts in all three sets, cruising in the first two then surviving a late CU run in the third for the 25-17, 25-16, 25-22 victory. Colorado (12-6, 2-4 Pac-12) had hit .312 in a sweep of Washington State in its last match, but the Huskies held the Buffaloes to just .092 today with 12.5 blocks by the Dawgs helping that cause. Washington led in kills (35-32), aces (4-1), and digs (22-20).
"We really came out game one and two and played very well," said Head Coach Jim McLaughlin. "We missed some serves and made some errors in the third, but we're playing better for longer periods, and need to continue in that direction. The numbers say we blocked four balls a game but there were some other opportunities we had, where could have been in better spots and seen things faster."
Vansant used an excellent third set (6 kills, 8 attacks) to wind up leading the match with 13 kills on a .455 attack percentage. Freshman Cassie Strickland hit .385 with six kills, and senior Kylin Muñoz added six kills (.308) with a match-high eight blocks, after she had a career-best 10 blocks Friday at Utah. Senior Amanda Gil also had a good all-around night with five kills, hitting .400, and adding six blocks. Freshman Katy Beals had 20 assists and Jenni Nogueras had 11 more.
Muñoz got the first kill for the Dawgs from the right side for an early 3-1 lead, and then Orlandini served up the first ace of the day for 4-1. Muñoz and Dunaway then provided the first block on the strong side for 5-1 before Colorado got the kill. Dunaway's first kill made it 7-4. Muñoz then had a solo roof on the right and then terminated in transition on the right to push the lead back up to four at 11-7. But the Buffs made their first big push with a 4-0 run to tie things up at 14-14. Kaleigh Nelson pushed one down out of the break and had a second kill two points later but Colorado repeatedly tied it back up. UW got back to a slim edge at 18-16 with a roof from Gil and Muñoz, and then Strickland crushed a kill up the line on the next rally after Beals' serve forced a free ball from the Buffs. That forced a CU timeout at 19-16. CU came out and donated the next two points as well on errors and then Gil stuffed down an overpass to force another Buffs timeout as the Huskies were on a 6-0 run. A kill by Gil and then a triple block got the Huskies to set point, and Vansant crushed one off the defense to take it, 25-17. The Dawgs hit a very impressive .560 in the set, with Vansant, Gil and Muñoz combining for 10 kills without an error.
Washington moved out to an early 6-1 lead in the second set on the tough serving of the freshmen Beals and Strickland, and Colorado took the early timeout. UW continued to put the pressure on with a couple blocks and then a Strickland ace out of the break for a 9-1 lead. Dunaway chipped in another kill from the middle and then Nogueras set Strickland for a finish off the defense that made it 14-4. Colorado had a 3-0 run but Nelson ended that with a finish and then a Buffs error had it back to 16-7 Dawgs. The lead got back to double-figures at 19-9. Late in the set, freshman Melanie Wade checked in for just her second appearance this season. Washington made a rash of uncharacteristic errors late in the set, but still had the nice cushion. Vansant connected to get UW back on track and then Dunaway and Nelson stuffed a Buffs swing for set point. Strickland hit off the blockers for a kill in transition to end the set, 25-16, as UW closed on a 3-0 run. Washington hit just .100 in the set but Colorado was held to -.037 with eight kills but nine errors. Strickland was strong with three kills on four attempts without a miss.
Again the Huskies got the early lead to start the third set, with a block from Muñoz and Dunaway making it 4-1 early. Dunaway and Nelson then picked up two straight points for the Dawgs with rejections of Alexis Austin, the latter making it 8-3. Gil put one down from Beals for a 12-6 edge. Over the next run of play, Vansant had a trio of kills from the left side to keep the Huskies in charge at 15-10 at the media timeout. A Vansant ace then made it 17-11, but UW then hit a lull and allowed Colorado to get right back into it with a 4-0 run which required a Husky timeout. Out of the break, Dunaway took one of her biggest swings of the night and pounded it down to break the run. Gil and Muñoz then crushed down a Buffs swing and Beals sent a float serve right to the back line for a big ace and a 21-16 lead that forced Colorado's last timeout. CU bounced back again and closed within two but Muñoz got a kill from the left, then Vansant followed another Buffs point with a missile for 23-20, then Colorado missed just wide for match point at 24-20. Orlandini missed serve on the first match point and then CU converted the next after UW sent over a free ball. But on the next chance, Orlandini passed it up to Beals who set Vansant for a big swing that couldn't be handled by the defense and the Dawgs closed out the sweep, 25-22. Vansant was deadly in the final frame, killing six of her eight swings without making an error to hit .750, and Beals had nine assists as UW hit .269.
Washington heads down I-5 next week for its first meetings of the year with Oregon State and Oregon. The Huskies face the Beavers on Friday, Oct. 12, then visit No. 2-ranked Oregon on Saturday, Oct. 13.