Huskies Sweep Arizona State On Senior Night
Nov. 17, 2006
SEATTLE-- Senior Courtney Thompson set the Pac-10 career assists record in front of 3,748 fans Friday night as the No. 2 ranked Washington Huskies (24-3, 14-2 Pac-10) swept Arizona State (14-14, 6-11 Pac-10), 3-0 (30-22, 30-22, 30-23). It proved a fitting ending for Thompson's last Pac-10 match in Bank of America Arena as she has been the cornerstone of a program that has brought home two consecutive Pac-10 title and the 2005 NCAA National Championship.
'Courtney was ready to go all day,' said head coach Jim McLaughlin. 'I could just tell she was going to have a good match and she did. The history of the Pac-10 Conference has been so good. She is the number one setter in the history of the conference and that is just phenomenal. She has meant everything to this program's success in the last few years. What it comes down to is that we need a good quarterback, and she does all the right stuff for us. It's just a blast coaching her.'
The Huskies remain tied with Stanford for the lead in the Pac-10 race with three matches remaining, including a head-to-head match vs. the Cardinal next week on the road.
'We worked hard and we're in a good position now because we are going to head out to Stanford and play for the conference championship,' said McLaughlin. 'That is the position that you want to be in. We have been pretty good on the road and we have won some good road matches. The key for us is going to be that we need to be rested a little bit and train well so that we can be ready for the weekend.'
The Huskies dominated ASU most of the match, holding statistical advantage in kills (54-46), hitting percentage (.310-.194) and blocks (12-7.5). ASU out-dug UW 58-57.
'(ASU has) good systems in place so that they are always in front of the point of attack,' said McLaughlin. 'Courtney had to keep up and off balance a little bit. She had great location and our girls were getting in some good swings. We hit at about .500 tonight and a lot of that was just Courtney locating the ball. She is the all-time leader for assists in the Pac-10 in history, which is phenomenal and we still have two matches to go.'
Thompson recorded 46 assists on the night to surpass UCLA's Erika Selsor on the Pac-10 all-time career assists list. Thompson's career total stands at 6,238 with two league matches remaining, which ranks 10th in the history of NCAA volleyball
Thompson got a lot of help from junior outside hitter Christal Morrison, who tallied 17 kills on 33 swings with no errors to lead the Huskies with a .515 hitting percentage. Stevie Mussie also recorded double-figure kills with 15 put-aways, while senior Janine Sandell added eight kills in the final Pac-10 home match of her career.
'Christal was good and Stevie started very strong,' said McLaughlin. 'Stevie hit a lot of balls in transition and took some really good swings on the ball. She also blocked well out there. We looked pretty sharp tonight and I thought that mentally we played well. We stayed on task and stayed with our assignments and we really played well defensively.'
Freshman libero Tamari Miyashiro anchored the defensive effort for the Huskies, picking up 26 digs. She now has 498 digs on the season and looks to become just the second person in Washington history to amass 500 digs in a season (joining Candace Lee who did it twice).
'Tamari is unreal,' said McLaughlin. 'She is only a freshman too, I just hope she gets (Pac-10) Freshman of the Year.'
The Huskies were also strong at the net with 12 blocks, including eight by sophomore Jessica Swarbrick, and six by Sandell.
'What I am impressed with is our blocking,' said McLaughlin. 'We already lead the conference in digs per game and we are slowly climbing up there in blocks. If we get those two to meet up there at the top we are going to take some teams out. We just have to keep getting better, that's all I'm preaching to this team out here every day.'
Nina Reeves led Arizona State with 17 kills, behind the 41-assist effort of Marina Mercer. Sydney Donahue led the Sun Devil defense with 20 kills and Staci Smith added five blocks.
Washington hits the road next week for the final weekend of Pac-10 play. The Huskies will take on No. 3 Stanford on Nov. 24 in Palo Alto, Calif., in a match to determine the conference champion and the winner of the NCAA automatic bid into the postseason. UW will close out the conference slate against No. 15 California on Nov. 25.
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