Volleyball Downs IPFW and Miami (OH) For Tourney Win

Aug. 31, 2002

OXFORD, Ohio - Washington earned its first tourney title of 2002 Saturday, sweeping IPFW and Miami (OH) to finish Miami's Best Western/Sycamore Inn Classic with an unblemished 3-0 record. The Huskies failed to lose a game the entire tournament, taking the Saturday evening match with the host Redhawks (2-1) by a score of 30-23, 30-27, 30-27.

The UW, which at 3-0 equaled its best start since opening the 1991 season with four consecutive wins, defeated IPFW (1-2) early Saturday by scores of 30-26, 30-18 and 31-29. Washington opened tournament play Friday with a three-game sweep of Delaware (0-3).

Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin (Redmond, Wash./Redmond HS) was named the tournament's most valuable player after leading all players with 38 kills, including 16 against IPFW. Sophomores Kaitlin Leck (Carson City, Nev./Carson HS) and Alexis McDonald (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS) were each named to the All-Tournament Team. Leck finished the tournament with 27 kills, while McDonald led all Huskies with 10.5 blocks, including a career-best five blocks (one solo, eight assists) in the featured match with Miami (OH).

Washington controlled much of the morning match with IPFW, holding the Mastadons to just a .120 team hitting percentage. In addition to Benjamin's 16 kills, the Huskies were helped by Leck's 12 kills and .579 hitting percentage, and the 12 kills and seven digs of sophomore Sanja Tomasevic (Uzice, Yugoslavia/Medical Secondary HS).

The third game of the match was the closest of the tournament for Washington, which saw a 15-13 lead become a 15-20 deficit before rallying for five of the next six points to close to within one, at 20-21. IPFW built a late three-point lead, at 24-27, but the Huskies charged back for seven of the final nine points, sealing the match on Benjamin's 16th kill.

Benjamin proved to be the Huskies' go-to player again in the nightcap, tallying 15 kills while adding seven defensive digs in the Huskies' sweep of Miami (OH). Tomasevic was again a major contributor with 10 kills and 10 digs, while junior Kara Bjorklund (Olympia, Wash./Capital HS) chipped in eight kills and a .571 hitting percentage. Washington outhit the Redhawks .314 to .149, and notched 13.5 blocks to Miami (OH)'s six.

Washington takes its 3-0 record to Hawai'i next weekend for the Aston Imua Wahine Volleyball Challenge, featuring the UW, San Diego State, San Francisco and host Hawai'i.

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