No. 3 Huskies Down Siena In NCAA First Round

Dec. 2, 2005

FORT COLLINS, Colo.-- The third-seeded Washington volleyball team (27-1) swept Siena (20-12) Friday evening in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Moby Arena. Game scores were 30-21, 30-17, 30-18. The Huskies will play the winner of tonight's Colorado/ Colorado State match in the second round on Saturday at 7:30 pm (MT).

On a night where Washington struggled early on to find its rhythm, serving and passing allowed the Huskies to stay in control of the match. UW had four aces, including three by senior Danka Danicic, while Siena made 10 costly service errors and had just one ace.

'The Saints were good,' said head coach Jim McLaughlin. 'They make you play. They don't make a lot of errors and they dig well. There were two things I liked about us tonight, our serving and our passing. We did both well and at altitude. Right now we are concerned about staying in the tournament. We can't look ahead and we've got to stay in the now.'

Sophomore Christal Morrison led Washington with 15 kills, while Sanja Tomasevic added nine and Alesha Deesing and Brie Hagerty chipped in seven apiece.

Junior Courtney Thompson paced the Huskies with 38 assists as UW out hit the Saints .287 to .118.

'You can't measure what Courtney brings to this team,' said McLaughlin. 'She is very connected to the thing: emotionally, mentally and physically. She can lead the team and knows what buttons to push. She brings as attitude and an energy.'

Senior Candace Lee led the defense with 10 digs, while Tomasevic and Danicic added eight each.

Washington held the statistical advantage in every category, including kills (48-36), digs (41-36) and blocks (9-5).

The Huskies were slow to get into rhythm in game one, making an uncharacteristic eight errors as Siena out hit UW .186 to .184. The game opened even with Washington leading by just two points at 9-7 before using a 5-1 run to take the 16-9 lead. The Huskies strung five more points together, including two Hagerty kills and a Deesing kill and block, to push their lead to 25-16 and cruised to the 30-21 victory.

The Saints made five service errors in the game, while Danicic had an ace for the six point swing in Washington's favor. Morrison led the Huskies with five kills and Hagerty added four.

Game two opened evenly with neither team leading by more than four points until Washington went on a 6-1 run, which included four Siena errors, to take the 19-11 advantage. The Huskies led by as many as 13 points at the 28-15 mark before a Morrison kill and Saint ball handling error gave UW the 30-17 victory and 2-0 game lead heading into the intermission.

Washington hit .370 in the second game, while holding Siena to a .107 clip. Deesing had four kills on six swings in the set, while Hagerty also chipped in four kills.

The Huskies took an 8-3 lead in game three before the Saints battled back to knot the set at 9-9. Washington then rattled off the next nine consecutive points to take the 18-9 edge and roll to the 30-18 victory.

Morrison led UW with six kills, while Tomasevic had four. Washington hit .375 in the game, while Siena hit just .051.

The Huskies, boasting their highest-ever NCAA tournament seeding, advance to the round of 32 in the tournament for the fourth straight season. Washington is now 15-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and looks to advance to its third-consecutive Sweet 16 with a win on Saturday.

Washington leads Colorado 2-1 in the all-time series and the teams have never met in the postseason. The teams last met in 1994 when the Buffaloes handed the Huskies a 3-0 loss. UW leads CSU 3-2 in the all-time series and are 1-0 against the Rams in the NCAA Tournament. That victory was a 3-1 first round win in 2002 at Honolulu. It marked McLaughlin's first postseason match and win at the helm of the Washington program.

Saturday's winner will travel to College Station, Texas for the regional tournament, Dec. 9-10. The winner will play the winner of the sub-regional taking place in Charleston, N.C., this weekend. Those teams include 14th-seeded Purdue, Virginia Commonwealth, College of Charleston and North Carolina.

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