Huskies Prevail In First Pac-12 Trip To Utah
Nov. 18, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY - The 10th-ranked Husky volleyball made its first Pac-12 visit to Salt Lake City a successful one, earning a big 3-0 win at Utah's Crimson Court in front of 615 fans. Washington stepped up at the end of each set, posting a 25-18, 27-25, 28-26 victory led by the 13 kills of freshman Summer Ross. Washington picked up its 20th win of the season for the 10th straight season under Head Coach Jim McLaughlin.
The Huskies (20-7, 12-7 Pac-12) also snapped a three-match road losing streak, and held off a tough Utes squad (9-20, 4-16 Pac-12) which upset 15th-ranked Oregon and took No. 3 California to five sets. Washington hit .280 for the night, its best mark since Sept. 23 at Arizona. The Utes hit .234, but UW held a big edge in kills (55-40), digs (47-39), and service aces (4-0), while Utah won the battle of two of the NCAA's top blocking teams (13.0-7.5). The 55 kills is the highest for UW in a three-set conference match this year.
Ross had one of her best nights on the attack, posting double-figure kills for the second time this season, finishing just one off her season-high of 14, and hitting .321 for the night. Senior Bianca Rowland hit over .400 with double-figure kill totals for the third match in a row and fourth in her past five. She finished with 11 kills on 16 attempts with three errors for a .500 percentage, and added four blocks. Sophomore Jenna Orlandini had a big night with 19 digs, sophomore Jenni Nogueras had 25 assists and senior Evan Sanders had 21 assists and nine digs.
Washington used a 4-0 run in the first set to take an 8-5 lead and force a Utah timeout. Freshman Krista Vansant had an ace and then Ross and senior Lauren Barfield rejected Utah's Chelsey Schofield to cap the run. Ross and Barfield landed back-to-back kills set by Sanders for a 10-6 lead. A block from Rowland and Kylin Muñoz made it 13-9, but Utah went on a 4-1 run to close to within one and force a Husky timeout. Rowland snapped one down to stop the streak, but Utah came back to tie it up at 17-all. Then sophomore Gabbi Parker turned the tide with a service ace, followed by a Utah error off another tough serve, and then a second ace for a 21-17 edge and a Utah timeout. Ross then put one down for a five-point run before Utah got a kill. But a kill by Muñoz and a block by Ross and Rowland got UW to set point, and Ross finished it off a set from Nogueras for 25-18. The Huskies hit .286 in the first set, with Rowland and Ross posting four kills apiece.
Utah took a quick 3-0 lead in the second set but UW came right back with a kill by Rowland, a triple block with Vansant, Muñoz, and Rowland in the middle against Danielle Killpack, and then a Vansant finish to tie it up again. Utah pushed back out to an 8-5 lead, but three more kills from Ross helped the Huskies climb back even at 10-10. They could not grab the lead, however, and the teams traded points until the Utes took a 16-13 lead on a Husky miss. But Vansant connected for a kill and then Parker smashed two straight to tie it up at 16. Again Utah answered with three back its way for a 19-16 lead and a Husky timeout. But the third-straight 3-0 run went to UW on two Ross kills and a Utah error. Still UW had never led in the set, and a couple service errors helped Utah earn two set points at 24-22. Rowland powered it through the block to save the first, and then Barfield and Vansant roofed Erin Redd to tie it again and force Utah's last timeout. Utah earned a third set point on a Schofield kill, but Vansant answered with the kill for 25-all. Finally, the Huskies took their first lead at 26-25, on a Ross finish assisted by Barfield, and then Parker got the decisive kill on the next rally, this one set by Orlandini. Washington hit .348 in the 27-25 win, with an incredible 23 of those 27 points coming on kills. Ross was deadly with seven kills on nine swings for a .667 attack percentage, and Vansant hit .444 with five kills.
Out of the break, the Utes weren't ready to call it a night, using a 3-0 run to take an 8-5 lead and force a UW timeout. Utah used another 3-0 run to push the lead to 16-10 with the Huskies calling their second break during the spurt. Barfield ended it with a finish, and Muñoz followed up with a kill to cut the lead to four, but Utah took the next two points to take back control. Muñoz and Vansant sandwiched two kills around a Utah error to force a Utes timeout at 15-18. But the Utes blocked Vansant twice to again take a six-point lead at 21-15. That's when the Huskies made a furious rally towards the finish line, sparked by a Rowland kill off an overdig. Parker and Rowland then blocked Danielle Killpack, and another Vansant finish was backed up by another Parker/Rowland stuff and Utah called time with the Huskies on a 5-1 run to make it 20-22. The run would continue on the serve of Sanders, as Vansant put away a set from Parker, and then Sanders tied it at 22-22 with an ace. An attack error from Utah and just like that the Dawgs were up 23-22. Sanders missed her next serve to break the run, but Parker sided out with a kill for match point at 24-23. Utah got the clutch kill but then donated service. Schofield saved the second match point to level it at 26-26, but then Muñoz notched her ninth kill o fthe night, and Vansant followed with her 10th to close out the match, 28-26. It was a 9-2 UW run to get its first match point and a 13-5 run to the finish. The Utes actually out-hit the Huskies, .220 to .216, in the third, but again UW had 20 kills to 14 for Utah, and 20 digs to 16 for the Utes. Vansant had five kills in the last set, and Barfield had four on seven swings for a .571 mark.
The Huskies will have to travel early tomorrow morning to Boulder, Colorado, to face a Buffaloes team that just picked up its first ever Pac-12 win tonight, beating Washington State in five sets. That match will again be at 6 p.m. Pacific time.