Volleyball Wins Pac-10 Championship Outright

Nov. 27, 2004

SEATTLE--The No. 3 Washington volleyball team (24-2, 16-2 Pac-10) won the Pacific-10 Conference Championship outright this evening with a 3-1 victory over No. 16 UCLA (18-10, 11-7 Pac-10). The Huskies finish the regular season with a one-match lead in the conference standings to win its first-ever conference title. Washington pulled 3,414 through its gates to witness the historical match at Bank of America Arena. Game scores 29-31, 30-23, 30-23 and 30-24.

'I'm happy,' said head coach Jim McLaughlin. 'Winning the Pac-10 is a big deal. Our ultimate goal, however, is still to win the national title. This is a step in the right direction and there is a ton of meaning in it. We set this goal four years ago and we've obtained it. Now we need to go take care of the other goal and win a national championship.'

'I like where we're at in a lot of ways heading into the tournament. Sanja's coming back and is getting into her groove. I thought Christal did well today and that Courtney ran our offense better tonight. We met our standard in a lot of areas, so I like where we're at. We've got to have a good week of training like every week and then we've got to get a little rest.'

The Huskies out hit the Bruins .246 to .157 and held advantages in kills (70-61), service aces (6-2) and digs (84-79). UCLA out blocked Washington 17-13.

UW was led by senior Sanja Tomasevic and freshman Christal Morrison with double-doubles. Tomasevic had 22 kills and 20 digs, while Morrison tallied a career-best 25 kills and added 13 digs. Courtney Thompson paced the Huskies with 63 assists.

Candace Lee anchored the defense with 27 digs and Danka Danicic had 13 digs. Morrison had six blocks tonight, including three solos, and Darla Myhre added five.

UCLA jumped out to the quick 6-10 lead in game one to trigger a UW timeout. Washington battled back, pulling to within two points at 14-16 but the Bruins halted any Husky comeback with a 7-0 run to go up 14-23. UW put together its own rally, scoring five points on the next six plays to narrow UCLA's lead to five at 19-24 and force a Bruin timeout. UCLA had game-point at 27-29 but a kill by Morrison and a Bruin error knotted the score at 29-all. UCLA then picked up kills by Becky Green and Brittany Ringle to squeak out the 29-31 victory.

UCLA out hit the Huskies .296 to .269 in the game, led by Green's seven kills. Morrison had seven kills for UW.

The teams played even to open game two with 10 ties through 14-all. Washington edged out to a three-point lead at 19-16 with kills by Jessica Veris, Morrison and Tomasevic to trigger a UCLA timeout. The Huskies took their biggest lead at 26-20 after a pair of Kaitlin Leck kills and cruised to the 30-23 victory.

Washington out hit the Bruins .286 to .167 in game two. Tomasevic had eight kills on 14 swings to lead Washington's attack.

The Huskies built a five-point lead in game three at 8-3 only to see UCLA score the next four points to pull within one at 8-7. The score was tied as late as 12-all before Washington began to pull away, building six point lead at 22-16 after three Morrison kills and a pair by Leck. The Bruins chipped UW's lead down to two points at 23-21 but Washington put together a 5-1 run to go up 28-23. A Morrison kill gave the Huskies game-point and a Danicic service ace lifted Washington to the 30-23 victory.

UW out hit UCLA .283 to .114 in game three. Morrison led the Washington attack with eight kills, while Lee had nine digs on defense.

Game four had eight ties as late as 22-all. With Washington leading 25-24, the Huskies scored the final five points of the game to seal the 30-24 victory. Tomasevic had two kills in the rally, while Veris added one.

Washington out hit UCLA .140 to .093 in the game. Tomasevic and Morrison each tallied six kills for UW.

Washington will learn its postseason draw Sunday at 3:45 when the selection show airs on ESPN News. With the Pac-10 title, Washington receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The 16 first and second round sites will be announced Sunday and Washington is hopeful to be on that list. Washington has already been selected to host the Regional Tournament, Dec. 10-11.

The Huskies have made eight appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including two in a row. Last season, UW tied its best-ever finish when it advanced to the Elite Eight.