Volleyball Advances To Third Straight Elite Eight

Dec. 9, 2005

COLLEGE STATION, Texas-- The No. 3-seed Washington volleyball team (29-1) defeated No. 14-seed Purdue (24-9) Friday evening at G. Rollie White Coliseum in the NCAA Regional Semifinal. The victory propels the Huskies to their fourth-ever Regional Championship and third in a row. Game scores were 30-25, 30-19, 30-20. Tonight's match was broadcast by FSN Northwest and will air on tape delay tonight at 9 pm.

Washington will face No. 11-seed Wisconsin in the Elite Eight match Saturday at 3 pm (PT). The match will air tape delay at 10 pm on ESPNU.

'Purdue was awfully good,' said head coach Jim McLaughlin. 'The (Notre Dame-Wisconsin) match was a dog-fight, and it took us a while to settled into our offensive rhythm (after the five-game match preceding Washington-Purdue). Then we did and we were okay. Our serve receive was awfully good. We were passing the ball at a very high level which allowed Courtney (Thompson) to do the things she needed to do. Purdue came out a little differently than we thought they would, and it took us a while to get on those tendencies, but when we locked onto to what we wanted to do, we were really good points wise.'

The Huskies used a balanced attack to keep Purdue's blockers guessing. Sophomore Christal Morrison led UW with 19 kills, while Pac-10 Player of the Year Sanja Tomasevic collected 14 kills with a .414 hitting percentage. Seniors Brie Hagerty and Darla Myhre had 10 and seven kills, respectively.

'When we're passing well, we just have options and there are a lot of hitters coming at you,' said McLaughlin. 'Courtney did a nice job of pretty even distribution. Even I didn't know where we were going sometimes and I thought she kept them off balance.'

Thompson paced the Huskies to a .315 hitting percentage, while dishing 37 assists and leading the defense with 12 digs.

Senior Danka Danicic added 11 digs, while posting three of Washington's nine service aces.

UW out hit Purdue .315 to .229 and held advantages in kills (52-46) and aces (9-1). The teams were even in blocks with seven each and the Boilmakers had the slight lead in digs (51-50).

Washington jetted out to the 4-0 lead in game one with three straight Morrison kills and a Purdue error. The Boilermakers battled back to knot the score at 6-6 before the Huskies used a 7-1 run, which included two kills apiece by Deesing and Morrison, to trigger a Purdue timeout at 13-7. The Boilmakers scored the next four points out of the break on two UW errors, a block and an ace to force a Washington timeout at 13-11. Three Morrison kills and a Purdue error out of the break gave UW the 16-12 lead but the Boilmakers continued to pursue, tying the score at 17-17. The game tied twice more, as late as 21-21, before Washington began to pull away. The Huskies used a block by Thompson and Deesing and kill by Morrison to edge out to the 23-21 lead and Purdue called its second timeout. Myhre tallied two blocks out of the break and Morrison added another kill to give Washington the 26-22 lead. A kill and ace by Morrison and a Boilermaker error gave UW game point at 29-24 and a Hagerty kill handed the Huskies the game one victory, 30-25.

Washington out-hit Purdue .261 to .186 in the game. Morrison recorded 11 of UW's 18 kills, hitting at a .474 clip. Danicic anchored the defense with seven digs.

The Huskies raced out to the 6-1 lead in game two to force a Purdue timeout. The Boilermakers chipped at Washington's lead, pulling to within one point at 9-8 before UW went on a 6-1 run, including two kills and a block by Myhre, to take the 15-9 lead and trigger a Purdue timeout. Washington pushed its lead to nine points at 24-15 after a Hagerty kill and Danicic ace but a 4-1 Boilermaker surge forced UW to call its first timeout with the 25-19 lead. The Huskies reeled off the final five points of the game with kills by Morrison and Myhre and three Purdue errors to win game two, 30-19.

Washington out-hit Purdue .216 to .171 in the game. Tomasevic led UW with five kills and .400 hitting percentage, while Morrison, Hagerty and Myhre had three kills each.

Game three opened evenly with Washington holding the slight lead at 10-8 but Purdue stayed in pursuit. The Huskies strung three points together, including two Tomasevic kills and a service ace by Thompson to go up 13-8 and force a Boilmaker timeout. Thompson recorded another ace out of the timeout and Morrison had a block and kill to push UW's lead to 16-8 and trigger another Purdue timeout. The Boilmakers never recovered as Washington built a double figure lead after a 5-0 run to take the 28-17 lead. Kills by Hagerty and Tomasevic put the match away at 30-20.

UW out-hit Purdue .463 to .325 in the game and was led by Hagerty and Morrison with five kills apiece.

Washington swept through its first three postseason matches without dropping a game for the first time in school history. Twenty-five of Washington's 29 victories have come in three games, which is a UW record. The previous record was 17 3-0 victories set last season.

Wisconsin defeated No. 6-seed Notre Dame in five games in the other Regional Semifinal earlier this evening. The Huskies lead Wisconsin 2-1 in the all-time series with Washington winning the last meeting 3-0 in Madison, Wis.

'They are very good,' said McLaughlin of Wisconsin. 'We'll get into the details tonight. They have some weapons and good fire power. They have a good coach. They're good, but we're good, too. We have some weapons, too. We'll figure it out tonight, but we've got some work ahead of us. (Our players) need to rest.'

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