Huskies Prepare For Regional Finals At Home

Dec. 6, 2006

By James Schleicher
The Daily

With the Regional Finals of the NCAA rapidly approaching this Friday and Saturday rapidly approaching, coach Jim McLaughlin feels comfortable keeping his team as much the same as possible.

'We're just in our normal routines, and I know it's a key to keep things as normal as possible at this point in the season,' he said. 'I like what the team is doing. I like them physically, and more so mentally. They seem like they're ready to go.'

General admission tickets are available for the NCAA Volleyball Regional by calling 206/543-2200. UW has presold more than 4,000 tickets and all reserved seating is sold out!

McLaughlin was pleased with the way his team defeated Colorado State (3-1) and Colorado (3-1) in the first and second rounds of the tournament last weekend.

'I thought we were a little streaky [in Colorado], but in critical situations we were steady,' McLauglin said. 'They put pressure on us, but we responded in the right way and put pressure back on them and won the thing.'

While the team captains, junior Christal Morrison and senior Courtney Thompson, often lead the team with their play, each individual player is depended on to do her part. At this point in the season, players like junior Alesha Deesing, sophomore Jessica Swarbrick and freshman Tamari Miyashiro are showing their roles as just as important.

'It takes a team to make a run and win the thing, and I think maybe last year we were like the ultimate team because we weren't the biggest, strongest, fastest,' McLaughlin said. 'All those guys they just contribute. You improve individually and then you can contribute collectively, and they've done that.'

After playing on the road for the first two rounds, McLaughlin and his players are happy to be playing on their home court this weekend.

'There's something about playing here, and just the home crowd,' Christal Morrison said. 'Our fan base has built so much over the last four years, and it's awesome to see. It does a huge thing for us, too, knowing that this place is going to be packed come Friday night. It just gets you excited, pumped up and ready to go.'

The Huskies (27-4) practiced hard on Tuesday and will have light practices today and Thursday as they prepare to face Ohio State (25-7) on Friday, McLaughlin said.

'[The Buckeyes] are physical, they're big, they have good arms and they're fast,' McLaughlin said. 'Looking at their numbers, they're very good, they side out at a high level and a pretty good hitting efficiency they're a handful.'

The Seattle Regional looks a lot like a Big Ten versus Pac-10 battle, with Washington representing the Pac-10 while Ohio State, Purdue and Penn State represent the Big Ten.

'[Big Ten volleyball] is good; it's one of the major conferences, it's one of the best,' McLaughlin said. 'They've got great coaching in that conference. They have some great athletes and they're in some hot beds in terms of recruiting.'

Heading into regionals, Thompson said she feels like her team is pulling together what they have learned throughout the season.

'Against Colorado we put a full game together; we just got to stretch that out over a full match,' Thompson said. 'I feel really good going into the next round.'

With a win on Friday, Washington will likely face the winner of Penn State and Purdue on Saturday.

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