Huskies Fall To Nebraska In Elite Eight

Dec. 14, 2008

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SEATTLE - The fifth-seeded Washington Huskies (27-5) dropped a heartbreaker to fourth-seeded Nebraska (31-2) Saturday night, falling 3-2 (25-14, 25-23, 17-25,24-26, 13-15), in Bank of America Arena before a season-high 5,325 fans.

The Huskies out-hit (.179-.155) and out-blocked (13.0-11.0) the Cornhuskers, but their efforts fell short.

'It's a tough thing to deal with right now,' said head coach Jim McLaughlin of the loss. 'It will probably be tough for a while. We played well at times, but Nebraska did what they had to do and they won the thing. It's hard when you lose games like this, but sometimes what makes it so hard is what ends up making it so great. It's just hard right now.'

Senior Jessica Swarbrick had a very solid outing, leading the Huskies in hitting with a .450 attack percentage. Swarbrick tallied 12 kills on 20 swings and chipped in four blocks [1-3] and a service ace. She graduates as the all-time leader in career attack percentage with a lifetime average of .406. Swarbrick also leaves in third-place all-time in total blocks (480) and fourth-place in block assists (445).

Junior Airial Salvo led the team in kills for the second straight night, recording 15 kills on a season-high 53 attacks. She also registered 11 digs, leading a trio of Huskies with double-doubles. Sophomore Becky Perry recorded her second double-double of the season, tallying 13 kills and 11 digs, earning her a spot on the All-Tournament team. Sophomore setter Jenna Hagglund registered 47 assists and 10 digs, finishing the season with a team-high 11 double-doubles and being named to the All-Tournament team.

Junior Tamari Miyashiro led all players with 26 digs, being named to the All-Tournament team for her efforts. She also chipped in three assists. Junior Megan McAfee recorded a season-high 13 digs to help out the Huskies' defense. Salvo put up a match-high two solo blocks and added two block assists. Freshman Bianca Rowland recorded six stuffs, including one solo block. Swarbrick and Hagglund each recorded a solo block as well.

In the decisive set, Washington came out hot, taking the first three points, forcing Nebraska into its first timeout. A Washington service error put Nebraska on the board, but the Huskies took three more on a kill by Salvo, a kill by Swarbrick and a block by Hagglund, putting the Dawgs up, 6-1. The Huskers took two points back, but three straight errors gave Washington a strong 9-3 advantage. Nebraska called its second timeout, then reeled off nine straight points to take a 12-9 lead. Back-to-back kills by Jill Collymore and Salvo put Washington within a point, 12-11. Nebraska came up with a block to go up 13-11, but the Huskies forced an error to get within a point again, 13-12. A huge block by Kindra Carlson and Swarbrick tied the set at 13-13 and gave the Huskies another shot, but a Washington attack error and a short Nebraska service ace shut the door on the Huskies' rally.

Set four saw nine ties and three lead changes. The teams tied at 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6 and 9-9 before the Huskers used runs of five and four points to go up 18-11. The Huskies refused to lie down, though, and continued to chip away at the Nebraska lead. Down 22-15, a hard kill by Swarbrick touched off a six-point Husky rally that included four straight kills by Salvo, to bring the Dawgs back within a point, 22-21, forcing Nebraska into its second timeout. The teams tied at 23-23, but a Washington service error put the Huskers up by one. Washington tied it on a kill by Salvo, 24-24. Nebraska ended the set on a kill and a service ace, to take the set in extra points, 26-24.

Nebraska got out to a quick 10-6 lead in the third set, causing Washington to take an early timeout. The Huskies fought through the set, but Nebraska never lost control of the set. The Cornhuskers hit .324 in the set, while Washington hit just .182. Swarbrick and Carlson each tallied three kills in the stanza, but a combination of errors and uninspired passing led to the Huskies' demise. Nebraska took the set, 25-17.

Washington trailed through much of the second set, finding itself down 16-13 at one point. Two kills by Perry and a Nebraska error tied the set at 16-16 and forced Nebraska into a timeout. The Huskies continued their run coming off the break, taking the next three points off two kills by Swarbrick and a Cornhusker error, and taking a 19-16 advantage. A Nebraska kill stopped the six-point run, but Washington took two more off a kill by Hagglund and a Husker error, forcing the Huskers into their second timeout. Washington maintained its lead, twice allowing Nebraska within a point, but a big block by Carlson and Rowland closed out the set for Washington, 25-23.

The Huskies dominated the first set, getting out to an early 9-5 lead. The Huskers struck again to cut Washington's lead to three, but the Dawgs went on a four-point run to go up 13-6. The two teams traded points, but the Huskies extended their lead to 18-11, forcing Nebraska into its second timeout. Up 20-13, Washington forced back-to-back errors and gained a point off a block by Rowland to open up a 10-point advantage, 23-13. The Huskies allowed a point, but finished the set on a kill by Rowland and an ace by Salvo, earning the win, 25-14.

'People may say this was a rebuilding season, but I think making it to Regionals, I don't know if you would consider that a rebuilding season,' said Swarbrick. 'I couldn't have asked for more from the girls this year. They worked their tails off every day in practice. I told them in the locker room that I wouldn't want any other teammates. People can say whatever they want, but we know what we have and what we're capable of doing. I think we did it, for the most part.'

Seattle Regional All-Tournament Team
Tamari Miyashiro, Washington
Jenna Hagglund, Washington
Becky Perry, Washington
Sydney Anderson, Nebraska
Lindsey Licht, Nebraska
Jordan Larson, Nebraska
Most Outstanding Player: Tara Mueller, Nebraska

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