Washington Volleyball Advances to NCAA Second Round

Dec. 5, 2003

SEATTLE - The 14th-ranked Washington volleyball team (21-8) defeated Northwestern in straight games this evening to open the NCAA Championship tournament at the Bank of America Arena. The Huskies, now 5-1 all-time in postseason matches played at home, out-hit and out-blocked NU, .302-.120 and 14.5-8 en route to the victory.

'It's a good win,' head coach Jim McLaughlin said. 'We beat a good team from the Big Ten and I like the way we did it. We came out and really took care of the ball and got into a nice rhythm.

'We were able to get on them a bit and get on their tendencies. In a fast scoring game, the 'little things' become 'big things' and I thought we took care of the 'little things' and that allowed us to control the match.'

Sanja Tomasevic led all players with 16 kills, while also notching nine digs and six blocks. Brie Hagerty added 13 kills and Kaitlin Leck picked up 10. Setter Courtney Thompson dished 45 assists and had three kills for the Huskies.

Senior Libba Lawrence anchored the defense with 19 digs, while libero Candace Lee logged 11 and sophomore Darla Myhre totaled eight blocks.

The Huskies opened the match with a strong hitting performance in game one, swinging at a .356 clip, while holding Northwestern to a .089 hitting percentage. Washington took the early 12-4 lead, sparked by a 6-0 run that included three Hagerty kills. UW pushed its lead to 13-points at the 25-12 mark behind three Leck kills en route to the 30-20 win.

Washington took that momentum into game two, scoring the first five points. The Huskies took the nine-point lead at 11-2 with three kills by Tomasevic and another by Thompson to force a NU timeout. The Wildcats fought back to come within five points at 14-9, but Washington pulled away for good, build as much as an 11-point lead at 27-16 for the eventual win.

Northwestern came out the break looking strong, quickly scoring the first five points on three kills and a pair of service aces. The Huskies tied it up at 6-6 on a Myhre and Tomasevic block that led to a kill and three more blocks to give Washington the 10-6 advantage and force a NU timeout. The Wildcats came back to tie the score at 10-10 but would never regain the lead as Washington picked up the 30-26 win and match victory.

Washington will face Utah in the second round match tomorrow at 7 p.m. The winner advances to the Regional Tournament (Sweet 16) in Long Beach, Calif., Dec. 12-13.

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