Huskies Complete Series Sweep Of Colorado
BOULDER, Colo. – Following up on Friday's epic five set win was a tall order, but Washington Volleyball packed a good amount of drama into three sets today and was pleased not to go any farther, as the Huskies swept Colorado today, 25-22, 25-22, 26-24 to complete the 2-0 weekend at the CU Events Center.
Washington finished a tough road stretch with a 3-1 record, losing just the first match of the trip in five sets at UCLA before sweeping UCLA in the rematch, then getting a five setter and a sweep in Boulder. The 10th-ranked Huskies are now 8-2 on the season and alone in second in the Pac-12, equaling the eight wins of Utah which has yet to lose and did not play this week due to Covid-19 protocols within the Utes program.
Head Coach Keegan Cook was surprised by some early errors from the Dawgs, but "We said regardless of how we're hitting let's keep doing the right thing and we'll get better. Our response after that was quite good. It was nice to have a match where serve-receive was solid from start to finish, and we were able to get a little more pressure on their serve-receive than Friday."
Today's match wasn't quite as clean from either side, not surprising given the lengthy battle two days earlier, but every set was close throughout. Washington was able to execute in the closing points each set, including in set three when UW saved one set point at 23-24 and then went in front and won on its first match point on a solo block by Samantha Drechsel.
The Huskies also had to rally from a 17-20 deficit to win set three. "We were really trying to be present on each play," said Cook. "We had a run of hitting errors, and we said we can either be upset about those errors or we can execute down the stretch here. Claire (Hoffman) stabilized us and then Sam made a block move that she's been looking for the last two nights. To make it in that moment was big."
The Huskies did not allow a service ace for the first time this season, and served up five themselves, with four alone coming from Emma Calle, setting a new career-high. Washington had a .212 attack percentage for the match and held Colorado to .144. The Huskies also had an edge in blocks, 8.0 to 6.0, and kills, 45-38.
Junior Ella May Powell had another double-double with 32 assists and 10 digs, with four kills on five attacks to hit .800. She connected with Claire Hoffman who had 14 kills, and Samantha Drechsel who had 12 kills and five blocks. Freshman Madi Endsley celebrated her birthday with 10 kills and three blocks. Junior Shannon Crenshaw contributed 13 digs in the back row.
UP NEXT: The Huskies will host a pair of battles between first and second in the conference standings next week as No. 7 Utah comes to Alaska Airlines Arena. The teams will go first on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. and then face off again on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 11 a.m. Both matches will be live stream only, via GoHuskies.com.
SET 1: Both offenses struggled early in the first set, but Calle took it upon herself to serve the Huskies to a cushion with a couple aces in a 5-0 run that put the Huskies up, 11-5. A couple Hoffman kills and one from Endsley got UW to the media timeout up 15-11. Colorado pulled to within a point on several occasions but UW kept fending them off, with a deep poke by Powell for a kill and a slide finish from Lauren Sanders. Drechsel finished for set point at 24-21, and after one Buff point, Powell went to Sanders for another slide kill to end it. The Huskies hit .171 but Colorado was held to .156.
SET 2: Colorado led 4-1 in the set before Grote assisted on two straight blocks to make it 3-4. Endsley then had two straight kills and a block with Sanders in a 4-0 run to give the Huskies a 7-5 lead. Colorado pushed back in front by two, 9-11, before Hoffman had a swing to stop the bleeding. Drechsel connected on two in a row as UW pushed back up by one. The teams kept trading points until 20-all, when Hoffman strung together two in a row and after a Colorado challenge was unsuccessful, Drechsel put down a Powell set for 23-20 and a Buffs timeout. Drechsel and Grote then ended a key rally with a rejection for set point at 24-21, and as in the first set, CU saved the first but then UW converted the second on a Buffs service error for 25-22. Endsley went 5-for-5 in the second set, hitting 1.000, as UW hit .333 as a team with Drechsel also adding five kills and Hoffman four.
SET 3: Colorado got out to a 7-4 lead in the third but Calle got her third and fourth aces around a Hoffman kill to help UW score four in a row and take a 9-8 lead. Drechsel had a put-away and Hoffman notched an ace as UW held a 15-12 lead at the media timeout. But UW missed serve out of the break and then Colorado had two blocks in a run that saw them score six of seven and go up, 16-18. Sanders converted but then two more CU points put the Huskies down 17-20. Endsley started the comeback with a kill and then a CU error got another back. Two straight kills from Hoffman evened it at 21-all, and then Powell dumped one for the lead. Hoffman finished for 23-21, but then Colorado made a last push with a block, a setter kill on two, and a kill in transition for set point at 23-24. Hoffman went crosscourt to save it, and then one of the best points of the match was won on a Drechsel right side swing for 25-24 Dawgs. After a timeout, the first swing from Colorado was solo stuffed on the right by Drechsel, and UW had it 26-24. Hoffman had six kills in the final set and Drechsel added four.