Vansant On Target In 3-0 Win Over Gonzaga
Aug. 25, 2012
SEATTLE - In the first of two matches for the Huskies today at Alaska Airlines Arena, Krista Vansant powered 14th-ranked UW to a sweep of Gonzaga. Washington improved to 2-0 on the season with the 25-21, 25-17, 25-20 victory, and will look to close out the Northwest Challenge on top tonight at 7 p.m. against Portland State.
Vansant played smart, aggressive, and physical on the way to 14 kills on 27 attacks with nary an error, good for a .519 attack percentage that ranks among her career-best. She also led the team with eight digs and tied for the lead with four blocks. As a team, the Huskies hit .322, including a .500 mark in the second set, while holding Gonzaga to .105 on offense.
"That's just her," Coach McLaughlin said of his leading scorer. "She should be like that. That should be the standard. She had control of different situations, and I thought she used some smart hitting. She hit high and deep, she handled tight sets, and I think this is good for her to go through."
Washington's starting lineup consisted of Amanda Gil, Kelcey Dunaway, Cassie Strickland, Jenni Nogueras, Vansant, Kylin Muñoz, and Jenna Orlandini at libero. Freshman Katy Beals checked in at setter as part of a 6-2 rotation, and she quickly set a couple kills by Strickland, and then Beals went back and served up an ace for a 6-3 lead. A block assist on the right from Strickland and Dunaway made it 14-10 and Gonzaga took its first timeout. The run continued to 9-1 as Dunaway served several in a row with some excellent passing helping her cause. Strickland added a couple more kills and then Gil and Muñoz blew up a Gasser shot for 18-11. Gil then had a kill and a solo rejection for 21-11, before Gonzaga broke up the 11-1 run. The Bulldogs crept close late, cutting the 10 point cushion down to four, but UW won it on its second set point when Vansant hammered one from the left. UW hit .263 in the first set with Vansant hitting .455 with five kills and five digs.
Again it was Dunaway serving that got the Huskies out to an early lead in set two. She served up an ace for a 5-2 lead. Parker and Strickland had consecutive kills to push the lead to 10-4, and then Dunaway picked up an assist with a tight set that Vansant put off the block, and Gonzaga needed time as UW went up, 13-6. Dunaway soon assisted on a pair of blocks, one with Vansant and another with Muñoz for a 10-point cushion. Late in the set, Vansant really shone, as she earned points out of some sticky situations. She had three of the last four Husky kills, and wound up with six for the set on just seven swings for an .857 attack percentage. UW closed out the set, 25-17, hitting .500 as a team in the frame with Gonzaga down to .040.
One notable change in the third set was the insertion of Kelly Holford into the libero role for the first time this season. Gonzaga played well early and opened up a three-point lead at 8-5, but after a Vansant kill gave the serve to Holford, the senior from Long Beach, Calif. notched consecutive aces to tie the score at 8-all. The first kill of the day from sophomore Kaleigh Nelson then put UW ahead, 9-8. After the Bulldogs tied it on the next point, Washington then went on a 5-0 run to take a 14-9 lead and force a GU timeout. Vansant got the lion's share of the block with Sybeldon on two straight points during the run. Twice Gonzaga cut the gap to one point, but out of a timeout, Gil shoved down an overpass and Vansant converted another tough swing to break it open again. On match point, the Zags let a Katy Beals serve go, but it wound up ducking into the back corner for the clincher, 25-20. Nelson was effective with three kills on five swings, and UW hit .267 for the period.
UW will be back on the court later this evening to take on Portland State in the finale of the Northwest Challenge at 7 p.m. In earlier action today, Portland State held on for a 3-2 win over Boise State in the first match of the day.