Huskies Topple No. 3 UCLA, 3-1
Oct. 27, 2006
SEATTLE-- The sixth-ranked University of Washington volleyball team toppled third-ranked and Pac-10 leader UCLA Friday night in front of 3,464 spectators at Bank of America Arena. The victory lifts Washington to 19-3 overall and 9-2 in the Pac-10, and extends its school-record 27-match home winning streak. The loss dips UCLA to 22-2 overall and 9-2 in the Pac-10. Game scores were 28-30, 30-24, 30-27, 30-27.
The match was broadcast by FSN and will air tape-delayed Saturday at 8 p.m.
The Huskies out-hit the Bruins .271-.211 and held advantages in kills (83-60) and digs (77-73). UCLA out-blocked Washington 18-10 and held the advantage in aces (6-4).
'It was a tournament atmosphere out there a little bit,' said head coach Jim McLaughlin. 'There were almost 4,000 fans and it was loud. I thought that we were pretty focused and we stayed on task. It was awesome and we knew it was going to be a good night.'
Junior All-American Christal Morrison led Washington's attack with 25 kills, falling one shy of her career high. She punished the Bruins defense all night and even took out the stats computer courtside in game two after her kill ricocheted toward pressrow and shattered the screen into bits.
'Christal is a big time player and she can play at the highest level,' said McLaughlin. 'She is getting better and better, but she was just composed the whole night. She took a lot of swings and played well enough to break the dog-gone computer.'
Fellow junior Stevie Mussie also fell one kill shy of her career-high, collecting 20 kills on the night.
Senior All-American Courtney Thompson had a solid night, dishing 70 assists-- 15 more than the UCLA offense combined. She also picked up 12 digs and was one of four Washington players to record double-figure digs in the match.
'It was a dogfight,' said McLaughlin. 'We knew it was going to be like that. We didn't play a great match from start to finish, but we played well enough to beat a good team out there. I liked our offense and I sure liked our defense.'
Freshman Tamari Miyashiro anchored the Huskies' defense with a career-high 33 digs, while Morrison added 13 kills and Mussie chipped in 10.
'I think that Tama was unbelievable,' said McLaughlin. 'That kid is already coming into her own as a freshman and she is really doing a nice job out there. She was digging in all areas and she put a lot of pressure on them.'
Nana Meriwether led UCLA with 15 kills and 12 digs, while Kaitlin Sather added 11 kills and Katie Carter had 10. Jordan Smith led the Bruin defense with 21 digs.
The Huskies are now a half game out of first place in the Pac-10 behind Stanford who will wrap up its weekend series vs. Arizona Saturday. Washington is tied with UCLA for second place with seven league matches to go.
UW hits the road next week for its first of two road series. First up, the Huskies will face Oregon State and Oregon Nov. 2-3.
'We have four weeks until the tournament and it is going to be important,' said McLaughlin. 'I think that we are going to have to work on creating and converting. We are creating out there but we aren't converting at a high enough percentage.
'We need to rest a little bit. This is a big win, but we have to be able to protect this win and take care of business against Oregon. Any time you beat a team like UCLA and they are ranked fourth in the country it's awesome but we move on to the next day.'