Dawgs Battle Back For Thrilling Five Set Win At WSU
Nov. 25, 2011
PULLMAN, Wash. - Trailing two sets to none on the home court of an energized Washington State squad, the Husky volleyball team saved a pair of match points and rallied all the way back to claim a 3-2 victory over the Cougars in the regular season finale. Freshman Krista Vansant was lights out with a career-best 25 kills, hitting .388, leading UW to its second win this week over the Cougars.
The 11th-ranked Huskies (23-7, 15-7 Pac-12) were in a tough position going into Bohler Gym tonight, as UW had posted an easy three set win over WSU just three days ago in Seattle, but knew that the Cougars (12-20, 4-19 Pac-12) would have nothing to lose tonight in their last match of the year.
Washington had early trouble stopping WSU senior Megan Ganzer, the Pac-12's leader in kills, as she led the Cougars to wins of 25-21 and 25-23 in the first two sets. Washington State then held match points at 24-22 in the third set, but UW won the next four points and then pulled away in the fourth and fifth sets for a 21-25, 23-25, 26-24, 25-19, 15-4 victory. It is the first time the Huskies have come back to win out of a 0-2 hole since Sept. 21, 2007 at Oregon.
"At 22-24 (in the third set) we made two great plays and tied it up and then took off," said Husky Head Coach Jim McLaughlin. "We were a different team after that. Once we settled down and settled into our offense we were very good."
Vansant hammered the Cougars for a second straight match, after posting 14 kills and hitting .684 on Tuesday. Her 25 put-aways is the most by a Husky this year, and the most since Kindra Carlson had 26 against Cal on Nov. 7, 2009. She helped offset Ganzer, who had 29 kills in her final college match. Junior Kylin Muñoz also had a great night with 16 kills and a .433 attack mark. Seniors Bianca Rowland and Lauren Barfield each had nine kills (a career-high for Barfield) while hitting .444 and .500, respectively.
Washington wound up outhitting WSU, .340 to .262, after the slow start. The Huskies also led in aces, 6-1, and blocks, 13.5-8.0, though UW did have a season-high 11 service errors, and WSU led in digs, 56-49. Jenna Orlandini had 27 digs and Jenni Nogueras had a career-high 34 assists, with 27 more coming from senior Evan Sanders.
After taking the fourth set to send things to a fifth, the Huskies were nearly perfect in the final frame, hitting .818 with nine kills and no errors on 11 swings. Washington improves to 3-0 in fifth sets this year, and also won for the first time all season after losing the first set. The Huskies had previously been 0-7 after losing set one.
"I don't know if our preparation wasn't as sharp knowing we just beat them a couple days ago, but it took us a while to get going," McLaughlin said. "If you're not prepared you risk the chance of someone else being prepared and sending you home awfully sad. It doesn't matter who the opponent is. The great teams have consistency to them and I think we learned a valuable lesson tonight. But we tapped into what we do; once we stabilized we were very good.
Washington will now come home for the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday afternoon, set for 3 p.m. Pacific on ESPNU. The Dawgs finished the season tied for fourth in the Pac-12 with Stanford at 15-7, one game ahead of Oregon and one game behind California. USC took the inaugural Pac-12 title at 20-2 and UCLA was second at 17-5. The Huskies will be expecting a 10th-consecutive NCAA tourney bid on Sunday.
In the first set, the Huskies rallied from an early deficit to take a lead, but the Cougars answered with a late run to put the Huskies in the hole. Kylin Muñoz had the first kill of the night for the huskies, and kills from Vansant and Parker made it 3-all. A three-point run by the Cougars gave them a 8-5 lead, with Chelsey Bettinson getting a solo block of Lauren Barfield in the stretch. Another WSU block made it 11-7 and the Huskies took timeout. Rowland got her first kill to stop the run. A Vansant finish cut into the lead, and then the Huskies used a 3-0 run to overtake the Cougars, 15-14. Parker had a kill and then Barfield and Ross posted consecutive stuffs in the streak. But WSU came right back with the next two as the lead swung back. An ace from Parker put UW back up, 17-16, only to have WSU take the next two points once again. Muñoz tied it at 18 with a kill, but Ganzer asserted herself with two straight kills and Glab added a third as WSU jumped out to the 21-18 lead and forced UW's last timeout. A block by Ross and Rowland and an ace by Ross drew the Huskies within one at 20-21, but then WSU reeled off three more to get to set point. Rowland saved the first with a kill, but the Cougars blocked Parker on the next rally to take it, 25-21. Vansant had six kills in the set but WSU hit .400 as a team with Todorovich hitting .714 with five kills and Ganzer putting down eight.
A 3-0 Husky run early in the second set came after WSU took the first two points. Muñoz had two kills in the run and Jenni Nogueras threw in an ace. Another three-point Husky surge made it 6-4 early, but WSU bounced back with three of its own for a 7-6 edge. The lead changed hands a couple more times until WSU got three straight for an 11-9 advantage and the Huskies called timeout. Vansant put down the Sanders set out of the break, and then tied it at 11-all, and again at 13- and 14-all, but WSU did not give up the lead. The Cougs rallied with four straight with a UW timeout during the run, taking an 18-14 lead before missing serve. A WSU miss drew UW to 17-19, and a Vansant kill made it 18-20, but Todorovich had a couple key kills on WSU's side. Ross and Barfield then roofed Todorovich to get within one at 20-21, but Todorovich came back with a kill. Three more times the Huskies cut the lead to one, but the Huskies could not hold their serve to get over the hump. Ganzer earned set point at 24-22, and Ross saved the first for UW with a tip kill, but then Ganzer came through on the next point for the 25-23 set win. The Cougars led the hitting battle again, .316 to .200, with Ganzer getting nine kills.
The Cougars got out to a slim early lead to start the third set, then opened that up to 8-4 with a 3-0 run that forced a Husky timeout. Two straight attack errors from WSU cut the lead in half, and then a Muñoz finish got it down to 8-9. The Huskies then had one of their first sustained runs of the night, as Barfield got the middle kill followed by a block by Rowland and Ross, a solo stuff by Muñoz against Glab, and then a Muñoz kill to take the lead, 12-11. Vansant then had back-to-back kills to make it 15-13 Dawgs and force a WSU timeout. Out of the break, Vansant hit again for a three point lead. UW would maintain that until 19-16, but WSU would fight back once again. Ganzer capped a three point burst with a kill to tie it up and force a UW timeout, and then Ross missed long and Scarpino served up an ace to put UW in a 19-21 deficit. Barfield stopped the bleeding with a kill, but the teams traded sideouts with UW needing a run. Harris brought UW to match point at 24-22 with a kill. Rowland and Muñoz saved the first with a block of Harris, and then Vansant came through with the finish on the next point to keep UW fighting, and force a Cougars timeout. Out of the break, Orlandini bump set Vansant and she finished again to bring up set point Huskies at 25-24. Ganzer then found the net on the next point, and UW had life with a 26-24 win, taking the final four points. The Huskies turned it up to .349 on offense in the third, while WSU fell to .209.
In the fourth set, the Cougars took the first two points, but the Huskies then roared back with five in a row to take the 5-2 lead and force a Cougars timeout. Nogueras served the run, contributing an ace, and Ross and Barfield had kills along with a Muñoz-Rowland rejection of Glab. Rowland and Vansant had consecutive finishes for an 8-3 UW lead. Another three point surge pushed the Dawgs out to a 12-5 margin, with kills by Rowland and Vansant followed by a block of Todorovich by Parker and Barfield, prompting the last Cougar timeout early. The Cougars trimmed the lead to four on a few occasions but the Huskies continued to side out consistently. Washington was forced to take its first timeout after WSU closed to 15-18 on a Vansant miss, but Gabbi Parker had a big finish out of the timeout, and then Ross and Barfield helped keep the lead with kills. The Cougars got two straight to make it 21-19 Huskies, the closest since 4-2, but Muñoz got a key kill on a crosscourt angle and then WSU made two straight errors to bring up set point. A Vansant kill finished off another 4-0 run to end the set, 25-19, and force the fifth. The Dawgs rolled to a .464 hitting percentage in the fourth, with Barfield and Rowland combining for seven kills on nine swings without an error.
Washington barely let the Cougars get a sniff at the fifth set. Ross started with a right side kill, then Rowland and Ross rejected the Ganzer swing. Nogueras notched an ace and a kill by Muñoz made it 4-0 and prompted the WSU timeout. Glab got Wazzu on the board, but then Muñoz got the sideout back and a Ross ace made it 6-1 Huskies. Washington broke it wide open with another five point run on the serve of Sanders. Vansant had three kills in the stretch and Barfield had a kill and a solo block as UW made it 13-3 before WSU got just its second kill of the set. A Cougar service error gave the Dawgs a slew of match points, and they converted the first as Barfield and Ross roofed Todorovich to end it, 15-4. The Huskies hit an eye-popping .818 in the set with nine kills on 11 swings without an error. Vansant killed four of five, and Muñoz was 3-for-3, while WSU hit .000 in the set and had just two digs.