No. 22 Volleyball Drops Close Match To No. 1 Stanford

Nov. 15, 2002

SEATTLE. -- The No. 22 Washington (15-9, 7-8) volleyball team challenged No. 1 Stanford (25-3, 14-2) but could not hold on for the win as the Cardinal squeaked out the 3-1 win this evening at the Bank of America Arena. Game scores were 30-26, 30-21, 27-30, 30-28 in front of 2,601 cheering Husky fans.

Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin (Redmond, Wash.) left it all on the court, pounding 23 kills against Stanford. Sophomore Kaitlin Leck (Carson City, Nev.) did her share of damage as well, reeling off 11 kills on 21 attacks for a match-high .524 hitting percentage but it wasn't enough as the Huskies once again faltered on serve which let the Cardinal sneak out the win.

Washington committed 16 service errors on the evening with just five aces to the Cardinal 12 errors and seven aces.

'We knew they were going to serve us short,' said head coach Jim McLaughlin. 'I thought we were better passing the short ball tonight then we were earlier in the season but we still need a lot of work on it. It was good tactics by them.'

After dropping the first two games of the match, Washington rallied to win game three, 30-27. It was the first game the Cardinal had lost in three outings with the last coming at the hands of then-No. 1 USC. Stanford led by five at 15-10 but the Huskies battled back to knot the score at 19-19 on a Leck kill. Washington then pushed the score to 23-19 on another Leck kill and three Cardinal errors and never looked back as kills by senior Gretchen Maurer (San Clemente, Calif.) and Alexis McDonald (Long Beach, Calif.) closed out the game.

Game four saw 15 ties through 28-28 before kills by Stanford's Logan Tom and Ogonna Nnamani sealed the Cardinal win.

Washington received solid performances from freshman libero Candace Lee (Eugene, Ore.) with 20 digs and junior Kara Bjorklund (Olympia, Wash.) who provided a spark for the Huskies off the bench with six blocks and four kills.

Tom showed why she was last week's AVCA National Player of the week as she tallied 21 kills and 16 digs on the night to keep the Huskies off balance. Stanford also received double-figure kills from Sara McGee (16), Nnamani (13) and Ashley Ivy (10). Lindsey Yamasaki led the team with 17 digs and two aces.

'I think we're getting pretty good but I'm disappointed for the loss,' said McLaughlin. 'Even though they were the No. 1 team, I felt like we could win. The challenge for us now is to get over it so we can get ready for Cal. We've been pretty good at collecting ourselves and putting our energy toward the next opponent quickly. With our maturity, I believe we'll be ready for the Bears tomorrow.'

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