UW Volleyball Closes Non-Conference Slate In Texas

Sept. 15, 2009

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 • #3/3 Washington at UT-San Antonio • 4:30 p.m. Pacific
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 • #3/3 Washington vs. Rice • 1:30 p.m. Pacific
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 • #3/3 Washington vs. Middle Tennessee State • 10 a.m. Pacific

The Huskies are riding high this week following a thrilling weekend in Tampa, Florida where they swept No. 9 Minnesota and No. 4 Florida on consecutive nights to uphold their perfect start at 8-0. Washington will board another long flight this week, heading to San Antonio, Texas for the UTSA Classic, which will bring the tournament portion of UW's schedule to a close.

The third-ranked Dawgs will open the tourney this Thursday, Sept. 17, against the host UT San Antonio Roadrunners. Action gets underway at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time. The following day Washington will battle Rice at 1:30 p.m. Pacific, and finally on Saturday it will be Middle Tennessee State squaring off against UW at 10 a.m.

Washington is showing no signs of wear and tear now halfway through its longest road stretch of the season. After playing twice at home to start the season, the Huskies have played in foreign gyms the past two weeks and have five more road or neutral matches ahead of them before returning to Seattle in early October. The Huskies though are 4-0 in neutral matches and 2-0 in true road matches thus far.

The Huskies will be looking to add the UTSA Classic title to their wins at The Invitational At Seattle, Washington, the Northwest Challenge, and the Tampa Twice Tournament. The following week will bring the start of conference play.

UT-San Antonio will offer live stats for every match of the tournament as well as video of all matches featuring the Roadrunners. That means Thursday's match-up with the Dawgs will be available to watch online at www.goutsa.com.

Taking an unblemished record across the country to Tampa for the Tampa Twice Tournament, the No. 3 Huskies probably had a few skeptics as they had yet to play a ranked team. But after two-straight sweeps over Top-10 foes, the Huskies were heading back to Seattle with another tournament title and a large dose of respect.

In the opener on Friday against 9th-ranked Minnesota, the Huskies were led by the 15 kills of Jill Collymore, who powered them to a 25-21, 25-19, 25-23 victory. Bianca Rowland hit .429 with seven kills, and UW won despite being outblocked for the first time this season (6.0-4.0). Minnesota was limited to .144 on offense compared to .239 for UW.

Saturday, Washington was firing on all cylinders against the fourth-ranked Gators. Rowland's six first set kills drove a 25-17 first set win, and things only picked up from there. In the second set, the Huskies hit a scalding .538 with 15 kills and just one error on 26 attempts. Florida meanwhile was pressured into -.030 on offense and the UW ran off with a 25-10 set win. The Huskies thrived in the third set as well, finishing off the sweep with a 25-19 win.

Airial Salvo had a double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs, while Becky Perry had 11 kills and Jenna Hagglund netted 35 assists and five kills on five attempts. Hagglund passed the 3,000 career assist mark against the Gators, the fourth Husky setter to do so.

Salvo and Collymore were named to the four-person All-Tournament Team.

Washington's perfect start through the first three weeks is nothing new under head coach Jim McLaughlin. Last year the Huskies won their first seven matches before dropping a 3-2 decision at Hawai'i. The year before that Washington rolled to a 16-0 record before finally giving up a five-set loss at Cal. In the national title season in 2005, the Dawgs were 23-0 before their one and only loss at UCLA, and in 2004 Washington got off to a 22-0 start on the way to its first Final Four appearance. The Huskies also had an 11-match win streak to start the 2003 season, McLaughlin's third at Washington.

Washington's host for the weekend, UT-San Antonio has gotten off to a 4-7 start but they are 2-0 at home and have already competed against a pair of Top-10 teams in No. 6 Hawai'i and No. 10 Stanford, both at the Honolulu Advertiser Challenge last weekend. Both matches resulted in 3-0 defeats, but the Roadrunners then came back with a 3-1 win over Weber State. Junior Kendra Rowland (no relation to UW's Bianca) leads UTSA with 2.56 kills/set and is second on the team with 2.85 digs/set. The Roadrunners have been outhit, .272-.160 this year and ball control could be heavily in UW's favor as UTSA has had 58 reception errors compared to seven for UW.

Washington and Texas-San Antonio have just one prior meeting, back in 2000 in the final year before Jim McLaughlin's tenure at UW. The Roadrunners defeated the Huskies, 3-1 at the Longhorn Classic in Austin, Texas.

Rice is 8-3 entering the weekend and is receiving votes in the latest AVCA poll. The Owls have yet to play a ranked opponent at the time of the match but their last match was a 3-1 loss to Wichita State, which then jumped up to No. 20. Rice and UW have one common opponent thus far, as both teams earned wins over San Diego State. Washington swept the Aztecs while Rice pulled out a five-setter, 15-13 in the fifth. Rice is hitting .241 for the season and junior setter Meredith Schamun ranks 18th nationally with 11.19 assists per set. Senior middle blocker Natalie Bogan is hitting an excellent .383 with 3.31 kills per set. Ashleigh McCord had 21 kills vs. Wichita State.

This will be the first meeting between the Huskies and the Owls.

Middle Tennessee State got off to a quick start with five-straight wins, but has hit a rough patch over the last two weeks and dropped its last five to even its record. MTSU fell to 22nd-ranked Florida State in its last match, 3-0. Senior Ashley Mead has led the Blue Raiders in kills the past three matches, and talled 11 vs. FSU with a .409 hitting percentage. Izabela Kozon leads the team with 3.63 kills per set. They are outhitting opponents as a team, .271-.234. The Blue Raiders will try to rid themselves of recent serving woes, as they have committed 99 serve errors to the 68 of their opponents.

Washington prevailed in the only previous meeting between the two schools, sweeping the Blue Raiders in 2003. The match was part of the IPFW Tournament in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Several fresh faces have seen the first action of their UW careers this season, contributing greatly to Washington's stellar start. Two players in their second years on the squad have earned their first stats. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Kelcey Dunaway has stepped up big for the Huskies at the net, picking up even more playing time when sophomore Lauren Barfield suffered a broken pinkie. Dunaway has a team-leading 31 blocks, including a career-high eight vs. Boise State. She was named to the Northwest Challenge All-Tournament Team. Sophomore Kandiss Anderson also has stepped in as a server in two matches this year, earning her first ace against San Jose State. A pair of true freshman have also seen action, with Jenni Nogueras from Puerto Rico earning more and more playing time at the setter spot. Nogueras had a career-high 17 assists against Portland State, and led the team with three aces against Boise State. Defensive specialist Kelly Holford from Long Beach, Calif. also got into the match against San Diego State to serve.

There are some exciting new ways to follow the Huskies on a regular basis this season, the hub of which is the newly redesigned GoHuskies.com. From there fans can connect with the Huskies on Twitter as well as join their official Facebook fan site to get closer to the team than ever before.To find the Huskies on Twitter, search 'UWVolleyball' all one word.To become a fan of the Huskies on Facebook, simply head to facebook.com/UWHuskyVolleyball.

Junior libero Tamari Miyashiro is inching ever closer to her second thousand digs. The Kanaohe, Hawai'i native has 1,982 career digs, and needs 18 to become just the second libero in Washington history to break 2,000 digs. Once she hits that mark it's just another 38 digs to tie Candace Lee for the school record. Miyashiro succeeded Lee at the libero position, giving Husky fans eight-straight seasons of historically outstanding defensive play. A two-time National Defensive Player of the Year, Miyashiro is on pace to break the digs record despite the switch to 25-point sets last season. Also climbing the career Top-10 list is junior setter Jenna Hagglund, who just last weekend became the fourth setter in school history to pass 3,000 career assists, coming in now at 3,015 over her two+-plus seasons.

Despite making a splash nationally with their two sweeps over Top-10 teams last week, Washington stayed put at No. 3 in the AVCA and Volleyball Magazine rankings. Penn State continues at No. 1 in both polls, with Texas at No. 2 and the Huskies coming in at No. 3. Washington did add a couple more first-place votes in the AVCA this week, now with three. UW closed the gap a bit on No. 2 Texas. Last week they trailed by 59 points and are now 45 points back. This stretch is the first time in the top-three for the Huskies since December of 2006 prior to UW's third Final Four in as many years. The Huskies are now 2-0 against ranked opponents and still have six teams ranked in the Top-25 upcoming on their schedule. One impressive rankings-related note is that Washington, Penn State, and Nebraska are the only three teams to have been ranked in the Top-10 by the AVCA every week for the past five years. All three teams were last out of the Top-10 in December of 2003.

Pac-10 play is already on its way, as Washington heads to the state of Oregon next week to kick off the conference slate. The 12th-ranked Oregon Ducks will provide an immediate challenge as they host the Huskies on Friday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. On Sunday, the Dawgs will be in Corvallis to take on the Beavers at 2 p.m.

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