Huskies Grab Big Road Win In Tense Five Sets
BOULDER, Colo. – For the third time in five road matches thus far, the Husky volleyball team took part in a dramatic five-set production. The Huskies came out on top, outlasting Colorado at the CU Events Center, 22-25, 26-24, 23-25, 25-20, 15-13 in a match where neither side ever felt the match was safely in hand until Samantha Drechsel put down the final kill.
"Kind of a classic high level Pac-12 match for early in the season," said Head Coach Keegan Cook. "I was impressed both teams playing at a high level for five straight sets, siding out and attacking efficiently, passers executing against tough serves. Lot of credit to both teams."
The Huskies improved to 7-2 with the win and stay in second-place in the Pac-12, while Colorado dropped to 4-3.
It took a total team effort for the Dawgs to rally back from a set down on two occasions, but Washington's attack stayed consistent for most of the match, and UW turned up the defense in the sets it wound up winning.
Sammy delivers!! Claire with the pass and Ella May goes to Drechsel for the final #PointHuskies
Big-time Dub for the Dawgs! pic.twitter.com/oRLETrXeOl
— Washington Volleyball (@UWVolleyball) February 19, 2021
Junior All-American setter Ella May Powell had the Huskies hitting .294 for the match, and she reached the 60 assists mark for the first time in her career. That was five more than her previous career-high of 55 assists. Powell also added 16 digs and a pair of aces.
She distributed the ball evenly, as four Huskies finished with double-figure kills and a fifth finished with eight. Senior outside Samantha Drechsel tallied 19 kills on a .340 attack percentage with a big 17 digs and four blocks. Junior Claire Hoffman had 18 kills, while freshman Madi Endsley had 14 with a .312 percentage. Senior Lauren Sanders hit .500 with 11 kills on 16 swings and Marin Grote hit .412 with eight kills on 17 swings.
"We talked during the match about taking good high, hard swings that whether or not it's a kill or a touch, regardless of the result, it's still a good swing," said Cook. "If they can do that they give themselves a good chance. Fitting that match point was another good 'high hands' swing. Those are the swings that win you big matches."
The Huskies reached match point with a big kill from Endsley to make it 14-11, but Colorado saved the first two to force UW into a timeout. On the next rally, Hoffman had a solid pass and Powell back set to Drechsel on the right who caught a piece of the block with her shot to finish it.
The back row defensive effort was crucial today, as junior libero Shannon Crenshaw tied her career-high with 21 digs, and Emma Calle had a career-high 16 digs, five more than her previous best. Crenshaw also fired a pair of aces and had five assists.
UP NEXT: The Huskies and Buffs will go at it again on Sunday in a 2 p.m. Pacific start that will once again air live on Pac-12 Networks Washington.