Rams Upset Huskies In NCAA Second Round

Dec. 4, 2009

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The sixth-seeded Husky volleyball squad was off its game tonight, and in the NCAA Championships, one off-night is all it takes, as Washington was upended in the second round by Colorado State, 25-16, 25-22, 21-25, 25-19. The Rams had the home court advantage at Moby Arena in front of 2,750 fans and put Washington in a 2-0 hole for the first time all year. The Huskies fought to force a fourth set, but had trouble sustaining runs all night, and ended the season with a 24-6 record.

The Rams outhit the Huskies, .254-.225 tonight, and dug 58 balls to just 41 for the Dawgs. Washington had 12 blocks to six for CSU, but the biggest difference came at the service line where Colorado State had four aces and just three service errors, while the Huskies had three aces but 16 service mistakes. Junior Becky Perry led Washington with 15 kills and a .414 hitting percentage, while Salvo had 14 kills and sophomore Bianca Rowland tallied 13 and hit .435. Danielle Minch led all players with 19 kills while hitting .324 for Colorado State.

'CSU played well in almost every part of the game. I was proud of our team,' said head coach Jim McLaughlin. 'I liked our energy and we competed but we didn't play well enough to win the thing. I just want to congratulate CSU, they did what they had to do. We were tentative, and when you're tentative good things don't happen. You've got to win the serve-receive battle, and when we do that we win the match. We didn't do that tonight.'

This was the final match for seniors Tamari Miyashiro, Jill Collymore, and Airial Salvo. Miyashiro, a two-time National Defensive Player of the Year, had 14 digs and fell just shy of the Pac-10 career record with 2,382 career digs, ninth-most in NCAA history. Collymore led the Pac-10 in aces the past two years and was a two-time Academic All-American, while Salvo started every match this year for UW and was All-Pac-10 honorable mention the past two seasons.

This was just the second time since 2003 that the Huskies did not advance to at least the NCAA Quarterfinals. Washington was last upset in the second round in 2007, but reached the Elite Eight last season. Still it was a tough loss for a team with Final Four goals all year long.

'We had some nice highs, and we had some lows. This is one of the lows, it's a disappointment, but it comes with what we do,' McLaughlin said. 'I'm proud of the women in this program. At Washington you want to get to the Final Four, and when you don't get there it sucks, but I hope it's always like that to be honest.'

The Rams grabbed a 3-1 lead in set one, but a Rowland kill and Carlson ace tied it back up. UW ramped up the defense to force a CSU error and then Rowland and Hagglund assisted on a bock for a 6-4 lead. The teams stayed in contact early on, with nine tie scores, the last one coming at 12-all. CSU took a 15-12 lead when the Huskies struggled to pass Danielle Minch's serve. Washington continued to struggle with its own serve and that of the Rams, and called its first timeout trailing 19-14. The Huskies were unable to make a push, and the Rams took the first set, 25-16. Colorado State hit just .105 in the first set, but the Huskies had only six kills and six errors.

Lauren Barfield got UW off with a kill to start set two, but CSU earned the next four straight and Washington took time. Carlson and Rowland got a block out of the break to snap the run. A back row kill from Carlson tied it back up at 5-5. The Rams owned the lead through the middle part of the set, but too many service errors prevented a sustained run. A CSU block forced the Dawgs to take their last timeout trailing 13-16. Barfield and Hagglund earned a big block out of the break but CSU responded with the next kill. Washington finally strung two points together on a Carlson kill followed by her second ace, but her next serve was into the net for UW's ninth service error. A Perry kill gave the serve to Collymore, and Salvo placed an attack in the corner on the next point to cut CSU's lead to 22-20 and force their first timeout. CSU's Dana Cranston got through the block on the next point, and another Ram kill brought up set point. Salvo saved the first two with her fifth and sixth kills of the match, and CSU used its final timeout leading 24-22. Kelly Holford missed her next serve out of the break, however, and Washington was staring at an 0-2 deficit for the first time all season. Washington had 10 service errors through two sets compared to just one for Colorado State.

The Huskies found themselves in an 0-3 hole to start set three, but Salvo got a kill to stop the run. Down 5-2, a Salvo kill was followed by a block by Carlson and Barfield then a Perry put-away and the Huskies got even. Finishes from Perry and Rowland kept things knotted up. A Rowland attack bounced into the crowd for a Husky point, then CSU's Tessa Nelson missed wide and the Rams took time with UW leading 10-8. Collymore's first serve out of the break dove straight to the floor for an ace, and an overpasses on the next two serves resulted in a Salvo kill then a Rowland finish and the Dawgs led 13-8 before Collymore finally missed. Two Husky errors trimmed the lead to 13-11 and the Dawgs called time. But CSU continued its run with two more to tie before Rowland put the Huskies back up 14-13 with a kill. Salvo went crosscourt for her 11th kill and an 18-16 lead, then Perry finished for a three-point edge. Rowland tapped down another to boost the lead to 21-17 and CSU used its last break. Rowland stuffed a swing by Minch for a critical block to keep UW up 23-19. Colorado State claimed the next two points, however, and the Dawgs needed another timeout. Salvo banged one down out of the break to earn set point, and CSU's next attack glanced wide off the antenna to get the Huskies on the board with the 25-21 win. The Huskies outhit Colorado State, .452-.250 in the third set, getting six kills apiece from Rowland and Salvo.

Once again the Huskies struggled early in the next set, losing four-straight after taking the first point, and needed an early timeout. Down 8-3, Salvo took a rip for a kill that spurred the Huskies on a 5-1 run including solo blocks from Carlson and Perry and CSU needed time leading just 9-8. Minch earned a Rams point to stop the run, but Rowland sided out with another swing from the middle. Rowland and Hagglund then rose up for another block to finally bring the set even at 10-all. The Huskies took a one-point lead, but a 4-0 CSU run put them back up 14-11 and Washington needed its last timeout. The UW went to Rowland to end the run, but gave serve back on an error and CSU extended its lead to 17-12 with a kill on the next point. Hagglund earned her first kill and followed immediately with her second to make it 17-14. The Rams took a commanding six point lead with three-straight before Salvo got UW back on the board. Washington couldn't get any momentum going on serve despite siding out well late. A kill from Perry made it 23-18, but another service miss gave CSU a slew of match points. The first was saved with Perry's 15th kill, but Jacque Davisson put down her next shot to end the set, 25-19, and the match.

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