Volleyball Falls To Stanford In National Semifinal

Dec. 14, 2006

OMAHA, Neb.-The defending national champion Washington Huskies lost to Stanford in the NCAA national semifinal Thursday evening at the Omaha Qwest Center. The game was a rematch of the 2004 semifinal in which UW lost in four games but the Huskies were unable to repay the favor, falling by scores of 12-30, 25-30, 15-30.

The loss snaps Washington's 10-match postseason win streak, dating back to the 2004 semifinal, and squashed the Huskies hopes for an NCAA title repeat. Washington's season comes to an end with a 29-5 mark, while Stanford improves to 30-3 and advances to take on top-ranked Nebraska in the NCAA final Saturday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. (PT) in a match to be televised live on ESPN2.

Washington is now 24-10 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and 2-2 in the final four, tying for third in 2004 and 2006 and winning the NCAA Championship in 2005.

Stanford out-hit the Huskies .315-.000, Washington's lowest hitting percentage of the season, and held advantages in kills (51-24), assists (49-23) aces (8-3) and blocks (13-4). The teams were even with 47 digs each.

'Stanford, congratulations to them,' said head coach Jim McLaughlin. 'They played a great match, the best match they played against us for sure, but we didn't do the things we are capable of doing. It was a tough match. I told these guys in the locker room, we knew it would be tough, we knew the whole season would be tough. We put in a lot of time and had a good season. Had we won the thing, it would have been fantastic, but the way these guys worked and the time and effort they put in was still great. I told Janine as a senior she came to a place where the stakes are high and I admire that in her. Courtney, we recruited her and she changed this program. She set a standard that is pretty unbelievable.'

No Huskies recorded kills in the double-figures for the first time this season. Pac-10 Player of the Year and first team All-American Christal Morrison and third team All-American Jessica Swarbrick led the offense with six kills each.

Thompson paced the offense with 21 assists to bring her career total to 6,552, which ranks third on the NCAA all-time list.

Freshman libero Tamari Miyashiro anchored the UW defense with 20 digs, falling nine digs shy of the school record. Morrison added nine digs and Thompson had eight.

Stanford was led by Foluke Akinradewo with 15 kills and a .444 hitting percentage, while Cynthia Barboza chipped in 10 kills and three aces. Setter Bryn Kehoe had 44 assists and four aces and Jessica Fishborn led the defense with 14 digs.

The Cardinal jumped out the 11-5 lead in game and never let up, cruising to the 30-12 victory. Stanford's strong serving game and Washington's poor passing led to the Huskies' lowest-scoring game of the season.

Washington hit -.118 in the set, making 10 errors and recording just six kills, while the Cardinal hit .268 with 15 kills and just four errors.

The Huskies showed some life in game two, taking its first lead of the match at 6-5. The score knotted 11 times as late as 16-all before Stanford built a 23-19 lead to trigger a Washington timeout. The Huskies came out of the break to score the next three points with a kill by Steveie Mussie and a kill and ace by Swarbrick to prompt the Cardinal' first timeout of the set, but Stanford came out of the break to score the next three points and rolled to the 30-25 victory.

The Cardinal out-hit Washington .244-.135 in game two. Akinradewo and Kristin Richards each had four kills for Stanford, while Mussie had four kills for the Huskies and Swarbrick added three.

Washington never led in game three, trailing by as many as 17 at 27-10 en route to the 30-15 Cardinal victory.

Stanford hit at a blistering .447 clip in game three, while Washington hit -.033.

Tonight marked the final appearances for Husky seniors Thompson and Janine Sandell. Thompson concludes her career ranked third all-time on the NCAA assists list and holds the record for assists per game. She started all 450 games during her four-year career, more games than any other player in Washington history.

A record crowd of 14,013 fans were on hand for the opening match between Nebraska and UCLA though the stands thinned considerably for the nightcap between Washington and Stanford.

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