Huskies Seek To Repeat Success Against WSU

Nov. 10, 2006

By James Schleicher
The Daily

Three-and-a-half months of thevolleyball season down, two-and-a-halfweeks to go -- and then it will be time forthe NCAA tournament.

The fourth-ranked Washingtonvolleyball team is working on improvingits game on a daily basis and hopes to haveanother great showing at the tournamentas it defends its national title.

'The demands are significant; it's justhard,' said coach Jim McLaughlin. 'There isnothing easy about becoming a great team,but our team's hanging in there. They'redoing what you're supposed to do andthey're getting a return. We're on the cuspof becoming a great team, and what most ofthese guys don't know is that the reward isjust so significant, the return is big.'

There is nothing easy about becoming a great team, but our team's hanging in there. They're doing what you're supposed to do and they're getting a return.'
UW head volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin

With that greatness in mind, the Huskies(21-3, 11-2 Pac-10) head to Pullman onFriday, where they will take on WSU for thesecond time this season.

When the UW met the Cougars (15-12, 3-10 Pac-10) in mid-October at home,Washington swept its in-state rival in frontof a record-setting crowd.

The Cougars play a physical game andwill provide Washington with plenty ofchallenges.

'Against us last time they definitelywon the serve-and-pass battle,' said juniorStevie Mussie. 'This time we're going towork on putting a little more pressure onthem from the service line and pushingthem back a little bit.'

WSU has three hitters who averageat least 3.5 kills per game: SophomoreBrittany Johnson leads the team with anaverage of 3.9 kills per game, junior FaletiAdetokunbo averages 3.7 kills per game fora .204 hitting percentage and senior KellyRosin contribute an average of 3.5 kills pergame with a .262 hitting percentage.

On the defensive side of the ball, liberoKelly Hyder averages 5.35 digs per game.She usually passes to setter Corina Beyer,who averages 12.12 assists per game.

'They're good,' McLaughlin said. 'Theyhave some physical players. They play fastand they can dig the ball. So we're going tohave to play well.'

While passing and serving are alwaysimportant facets of McLaughlin's practices,blocking has been a big focus over the lastseveral weeks.

'The blocking is improving big time,'McLaughlin said. 'We're in better positionsto score points. Our eye work is better; we'reseeing the right things at the right time.'As the season wears on, rest becomes asimportant as quality workouts to improvingfocus, McLaughlin said.

'Our coaching staff does a great job ofkeeping us prepared late in the season,'Mussie said. 'So in November we kind oftaper off, don't go quite as long, so we'refresh. We're chewing at the bit to get alittle bit more, but Jim's pulling us backso that we have fresh legs every day to getin there and do what we need to do. Everyday we want to go longer, but Jim's like,`Nope, you're done. You got your quality, it'squality over quantity right now.''

Washington will show how the qualitywork has helped them improve Friday nightagainst WSU.

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