Washington Overpowers Ohio State
Dec. 8, 2006
SEATTLE-- It was a block party in Seattle as the sixth-seeded University of Washington volleyball team (28-4)defeated No. 11-seed Ohio State (25-8), 3-0, Friday evening at Bank of America Arena in front of a record crowd of 6846 in the NCAA Regional Semifinal. The victory propels Washington to their fifth-ever regional championship and third in a row. Game scores were 30-16, 30-18 and 30-18. The Huskies will face third-seed Penn State in the regional final Saturday at 6 p.m. The match will air live on ESPNU.
Washington becomes the only team in the nation to reach the Elite 8 in each of the last four years.
The win marks Washington's 30th consecutive victory in Bank of America Arena, a program record. The Huskies have not lost at home since dropping a five-game match to USC on Nov. 26, 2004.
Washington blocking was the big force for Washington as Ohio State was held to a .043 hitting percentage. The Huskies tallied 13.0 blocks, led by four from sophomore Jessica Swarbrick. Ohio State couldn't stop the Huskies from turning those blocks into point as the two middle hitters, junior Alesha Deesing and Swarbrick, hit .538 and .533 respectively.
'I thought their block and defense just gobbled up the offense that we had,' said Ohio State head coach Jim Stone. 'Combining our inconsistent passing with their good defense made us always play from behind and certainly the scores and stats reflect that.'
Behind six blocks, a stat that head coach Jim McLaughlin has been asking his team to improve, the Huskies dominated game one, jumping out to the 7-2 lead, including two kills and a block by Christal Morrison, to trigger an Ohio State timeout. Washington pushed its lead to double-figures at 18-8 and took its largest lead at 27-12 after a 6-1 run that included three consecutive blocks by Swarbrick. A kill by Janine Sandell gave Washington game point and Alesha Deesing put another away for the 30-16 game one victory.
UW out-hit the Buckeyes .459-.025 as it made just one error compared to OSU's 11. The Huskies were led by Deesing with six kils on six swings. Swarbrick was solid on both sides of the net for Washington, posting four kills on five swings and four blocks.
Game two was played evenly with the score knotted as late as 14-14. Washington began to pull away, building a seven point lead at 21-15 after back-to-back kills by Deesing and Morrison to force an OSU timeout. The Huskies finished up the game on a 9-3 run after the timeout to take complete control of the match.
Steve Mussie had four of her team high 11 kills in game two to pace the Huskies. Washington tallied five total blocks to two for Ohio State. The dominance at the net helped the Huskies hold the Buckeyes to just .027 hitting as they never hot more than .077 for the match.
In game three Ohio State was again able to maintain pace with Washington early in the game. However, the Huskies slowly built a five point lead thanks to three Steve Mussie kills. The Buckeyes would never get closer than four point for the rest of the game.
Penn State swept Purdue in the other regional semifinal earlier this evening. The Huskies and Nittany Lions are tied 1-1 in the all-time series and have never met in the postseason.
Approximately one hour before the match Thompson and Alison Simmons came out for their pre-game warm-up and were treating to standing ovation from the crowd, including a full Dawg Pack of about 750 fans.
'It was awesome,' McLaughlin said. 'We kept hearing updates and I kept telling the team not to talk about it. It has got to be an exciting thing for any volleyball player to play in that environment.'
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