Washington Volleyball Advances To Elite Eight

Dec. 12, 2003

LONG BEACH, Calif.- The 12th-seeded Washington volleyball team (23-8) defeated fifth-seeded Stanford (25-7) in the NCAA regional semifinal this evening to advance to the Elite Eight and tie the program's best ever showing at the NCAA tournament. Game scores were 30-25, 26-30, 30-19, 30-26.

'It was an exciting match,' said head coach Jim McLaughlin. 'We got better as the night went and developed our composure throughout the match. I thought we played hard and our outside hitters were 'big time' when they had to be 'big time'. They put down some key hits for us.'

Leading the way for Washington were outside hitters Sanja Tomasevic and Brie Hagerty. Tomasevic led all players with 25 kills, while Hagerty recorded a career-best 21 kills. Also contributing to the UW arsenal were Darla Myhre and Kaitlin Leck who tallied 14 and 12 kills, respectively.

Freshman setter Courtney Thompson paced the Huskies, collecting 66 assists and leading the Dawgs to a .353 hitting percentage.

Senior Libba Lawrence anchored the defense with 16 digs, while Tomasevic added 13 and Candace Lee picked up 12.

Washington took game one, out hitting the Cardinal .405 to .324. After a jittery start that led to a five-point Stanford lead (6-1), Washington battled back behind a balanced attack to pull with two points at the 14-12 mark. Washington then went on an 8-1 run to take the 20-15 lead and cruised to the 30-25 victory. Tomasevic sparked the UW offense with six kills in the game, while Hagerty, Myhre and Leck each added four kills. Freshman Kristin Richards carried much of the Stanford load, recording seven of its 15 kills in the game.

Stanford raced out the 13-7 lead in game two and took its biggest lead of the match at 19-10. Washington chipped at the Cardinal lead to pull within five at 20-15 and force a Stanford timeout. With the Cardinal holding game point at the 29-22 mark, the Huskies scored the next four points to pull within three at 26-29. Stanford ace Ogonna Nnamani even the match at one game apiece with one of her team-high 20 kills.

Washington came out of the break with a furry, hitting a scorching .442 versus Stanford's .211 in game three. The Huskies jumped out to the 9-1 lead, highlighted by seven unanswered points. UW built its lead to 14 points at the 24-18 mark and closed out the game scoring six of the next seven points with three kills apiece by Tomasevic and Myhre.

Stanford used five early kills by Nnamani to take the four-point lead in game four at 11-15 and force a Husky timeout. Washington came out of the huddle scoring five of the next six points to knot the score at 16-all. The Cardinal went up 19-16 but Washington tied the score three more times through 23-all before a kill by Hagerty gave UW the lead for good. The Huskies built a five-point lead at 29-24 with kills by Kara Bjorklund, Hagerty and Tomasevic and a Stanford service error gave Washington its first Sweet 16 victory since the 1988 season

Washington will face the winner of tonight's No. 4 Pepperdine/No. 13 Minnesota match Saturday in the regional championship. First serve is set for 7 p.m. in the Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State.

No. 12 seed Washington def. No. 5 seed Stanford (Long Beach, Calif.) Dec. 12, 2003

Washington (23-8) def. Stanford (25-7), (30-25, 26, 30-, 30-19, 30-26)
Kills: UW 82 (Tomasevic 25), STAN 63 (Nnamani 20); Assists: UW 74 (Thompson 66), STAN 59 (Goldhahn 46); Service Aces: UW 9, STAN 5; Digs: UW 62 (Lawrence 16); STAN 59 (Hucke 13); Team Blocks: UW 8.5, STAN 15.

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