Fans Get Close-Up Look At Huskies In Spring Scrimmage Finale

May 17, 2010

Washington volleyball enjoyed a productive scrimmage against Santa Clara on Saturday at Marv Harshman Court. The scrimmage was their fourth of the spring against the Broncos, and took place in front of an estimated 200 fans that showed their support at the exhibition.

The Huskies are in the midst of their spring training period, where they hope to make the necessary improvements to continue at the high level that Washington volleyball is known for.

'We've made some progress,' said Coach Jim McLaughlin. 'I like the way we've been training, our intensity and our mindfulness.'

'There are still some areas we have to address though. Some of it is just tempo issues, both with the hitter and the setter. We're going to work on passing until the NCAA finals; we'll keep working on that. We've made some progress but we still have a ways to go.'

Last week Washington made the trip down to Santa Clara, participating in a join practice session and also playing five regulation sets over two days. The Huskies won all five by an average of 25-16.8, with Becky Perry and Kindra Carlson each totaling 22 kills apiece.

The Broncos then returned the favor over the weekend, heading up to the suddenly sunny skies of Seattle for another workout Friday afternoon followed by another scrimmage Friday evening that wound up standing-room only. Again the progress that the Huskies have made was on display as they won each set.

Saturday's final competition started with more of a practice feel. The teams played 12 sets of best-of-12 points with lineups shifting after each game.With the ability to tie, the Huskies went 7-3-2 in the 12 games.

The sets were fast-paced and included coaches watching from all angles and starting most of the points themselves rather than having the teams serve.

After a short break, the teams returned to play one last set to 25, with players serving each time. That was a plus for the Huskies, as Kindra Carlson showed the type of pressure that she can put on opponents by gaining three points on her serve to give Washington a 7-3 lead.

The Huskies controlled play throughout the set, and secured a 25-19 win on a broken play that saw a tip land on the Santa Clara side.

'It's always good to play other teams,' said Carlson. 'I definitely think that our best competition is within us, but they're a great team and it was fun to see other things.'

Although they lost talented outside hitters Airial Salvo and Jill Collymore, the Huskies showed plenty of power in their offense. Carlson and Perry both punished the ball at times on Saturday, and one newcomer to the position, Bianca Rowland, showed that she may be able to stay on the outside after contributing for two years at middle blocker.

'We're coming close to answering some of the questions we have,' said McLaughlin. 'We need a little bit more info. We've got six more days of training which will be a good thing but we're close to answering those questions.'

'Whether we can keep Bianca on the outside or not, we're close to answering that question. She's doing a good job. We've been mixing parts, I like it. We're sure that we're not where we need to be yet.'

Washington will have another week of training before their spring allotment is used up, and will be able to continue improving in the offseason. The scrimmage allowed them to see the fruits of their labor, but also see what still needs the most work.

'We've seen some payoffs on passing, serving and that kind of stuff,' said Carlson. 'We definitely still have work to do, so we're excited to get back into the gym next week.'

Perhaps the most telling sign of the bright future of Washington volleyball were the hundreds of fans that showed to see an exhibition match in the spring. That gesture of support is not lost on Coach McLaughlin.

'It's awesome,' said McLaughlin. 'Because of our fans we have one of the best environments in the whole country. For our fans to show up for a spring scrimmage is huge. We love it, the kids get fired up and feel the responsibility to do well in front of them.'

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