Huskies Ride Offensive Outburst Past Cougars
Nov. 22, 2011
SEATTLE - A full-on offensive assault from the 11th-ranked Husky volleyball team led to a 3-0 sweep of rival Washington State tonight in the regular season home finale at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Huskies (22-7, 14-7 Pac-12) hit a blistering .506 tonight, their highest in a conference match since the 2005 season, en route to a 25-14, 25-21, 25-14 win in front of 3,076 fans.
Freshman Krista Vansant was the hottest of a big pack of hard-hitting Dawgs. The Redlands, Calif. native banged 14 kills on 19 swings, with just one error late in the third set for a .684 attack percentage, the best of her young career.
But tonight every one of UW's attackers hit over .300. Senior Lauren Barfield hit .667 with six kills, senior Bianca Rowland had seven kills and hit .600, freshman Summer Ross had four kills on eight attempts to hit .500, sophomore Gabbi Parker killed eight balls at a .412 rate, and junior Kylin Muñoz hit .333 with six kills.
The .506 mark is the second-best of the year for UW after a .590 match in the season-opener against Prairie View A&M. But much more telling is the conference match component. The last time the Huskies were over .500 in a Pac-10 or Pac-12 match was Sept. 30, 2005, when UW hit .533 against Arizona State.
"We're very mechanically sound now," said Head Coach Jim McLaughlin. "We can play the game, we can move. We spike well, pass well, serve well; our mechanics are in place. Now we've got to be assignment-sound. That's a function of staying focused on the things that tell you what you need to do, and that's what wins championships. If we can put those two together then we'll have a team that can make a deep run."
Evidence of the serving was 11 service aces tonight for the Dawgs, led by a career-best four from libero Jenna Orlandini. All that efficient hitting from UW means the setters were doing something right, as sophomore Jenni Nogueras passed out 22 assists and senior Evan Sanders added 16 more.
The match started with Nogueras feeding Ross on the right for a finish. Vansant then got the left side finish one rally later. A second early kill from Gabbi Parker made it 5-3 Dawgs. A big Parker serve then led to a WSU overpass and Barfield hammered it down for an 8-5 edge. Two consecutive swings from Muñoz on the left was followed by an ace for Jenni Nogueras and UW was up 11-7 and hitting .643 early. Ross and Rowland then roofed Jaicee Harris on the next point and WSU called its first timeout. A finish from Ross made it 13-7 before Ganzer ended the 5-0 run with her first kill. Ganzer was then blocked by Rowland and Muñoz for a 15-8 lead. Rowland checked in with her first kill on her first swing, and Vansant added her fourth finish on the right off the block for a 17-10 advantage. A soft tip from Barfield was followed by a Vansant service ace to the left corner for a 21-11 lead and another WSU timeout. The Huskies reached set point after Muñoz got credit for the kill on a WSU blocking error, and on the next rally the Cougars put their swing into the net for the 25-14 Husky win. Washington was error-free in the set, putting down 17 kills on 27 attempts to hit an incredible .630. Vansant had five kills on seven swings and Parker had four on six.
The teams traded the first six points until Vansant had her second ace for a 4-3 UW lead. Parker missed long on the next point for the first UW error of the night, but Summer Ross came right back with a heavy left side swing. The Cougs couldn't handle an ace from Nogueras and then WSU ripped one wide and UW was out to an 8-5 lead. But the Cougars answered with an unorthodox 4-0 run to take the lead, getting help from a UW rotation error and a rare Rowland miss. The Huskies moved back in front, 10-9, on a Ross ace. Orlandini then registered her second ace, Vansant punched one down, and Rowland capped a long rally with a swing to the back line that forced a WSU timeout at 14-10 Washington. Kills from Rowland and Parker answered a 2-0 WSU run for a 16-12 lead. The fifth ace of the set was notched by Parker to make it 19-15 Dawgs. Vansant flew in from the back row for a big swing and a 21-17 lead. She then hit from the right side to make it 23-19 and WSU called its last timeout. A WSU block error brought UW to set point at 24-20. The Cougars saved the first on a kill, but then sent their serve into the net for the 25-21 UW win. The Cougars actually outhit the Dawgs in the second set, .367 to .357, but UW made up the difference with four aces while WSU made four service errors. Parker, Rowland, and Vansant all had three kills in the frame and Orlandini had six digs.
The first point of the third set was one of the best of the night, going back and forth until Rowland and Ross stuffed Ganzer, the first block since the first set. Vansant swept a serve crosscourt and down to the sideline for an ace and an early 5-3 edge. UW then had a triple block with Parker, Barfield, and Ross and a WSU attack error pushed it to 7-3 before the Cougars broke the four point run. Muñoz went to the back line from the left for a kill and a 9-5 advantage. The Cougars overdug the Ross serve and Vansant tapped it down for a five point lead. Orlandini then put one serve off the tape and down for an ace, then sent her next one deep and off the defense for a second one and a 14-8 Husky lead. The teams reached the media timeout when Vansant came from the right and tipped it over the block and down for a 15-9 lead. Washington's serving continued to flummox the Cougs, as Sanders placed her first ace of the night for a 17-9 lead. Barfield had a pair of kills set from Sanders to help extend the lead to 20-12. Rowland got a dig then Nogueras set it right back to her for her seventh kill, and then Muñoz smacked down an overpass for a 23-13 Washington lead and a WSU timeout. Vansant connected from the left for her 14th kill of the evening, and then Orlandini capped off a brilliant serving night with her fourth ace to end it, 25-14. Vansant racked up six more kills in the last frame, and both Rowland and Barfield were a perfect 3-for-3. Again the Dawgs were up over .500 in the frame, hitting .542 with 15 kills, and two errors on 24 attempts.
The Huskies will have to bring the same intensity in just three days as they head to Pullman for the rematch on Black Friday. The 7 p.m. match against the Cougars will wrap up the regular season, with the NCAA selections coming on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 3 p.m. Pacific time.