Huskies Take Over Top Of Pac-12 By Completing Weekend Sweep Of Utah
SEATTLE – The Washington volleyball team took possession of first place in the Pac-12 by completing a weekend sweep of No. 7 Utah on Saturday in impressive fashion. The ninth-ranked Huskies (10-2) needed four sets – 25-21, 25-17, 23-25, 25-18 – to take six of seven sets in two matches against the Utes (8-2).
The Huskies used a balance offensive attack with four recording double-figure kills and held a decisive defensive advantage on the block, 17-8.
"I'm really pleased with our blocking at the net," Husky Coach Keegan Cook said, "as well as some good offensive play from Marin Grote and Samantha Drechsel. I thought they were both excellent today.
"It was a different kind of match, but we sided-out at a really high level again, which is something we've been working hard at for months, so I'm really pleased."
Grote tied a career high with 11 kills and established a new career best with 10 blocks.
"We have quite a few talented hitters and she hasn't necessarily been called upon to be the top choice, but we thought she had a good match up and she was ready for it," Cook said of his junior middle blocker.
Claire Hoffman led Washington with 16 kills, Drechsel chipped in with 13 and Madi Endsley had 11.
Washington took a 1-0 set lead, breaking away late for the early advantage. The Utes got as close as 20-19 before back-to-back kills by Hoffman gave the Huskies some breathing room. Hoffman would close the set out by finding the floor for the 25-21 win in set one.
In set two, Utah jumped out to a 5-3 advantage before Washington took control with a 6-0 run. Drechsel had a couple of kills and Endsley had a kill and solo block to spur the run. The closest the Utes would get again in the set was down two, 15-13. Up 22-17, the Huskies rattled off the next three points – Grote and Hoffman teaming up for a block, an ace by Sianna Houghton and Hoffman kill – to take the 2-0 advantage.
Utah rallied for a 25-23 third-set win to keep the match alive. The Huskies led 19-15 and 21-19 before the Utes clawed their way back into the match. Dani Drews had three of her match-high 21 kills to put the Huskies on the brink and a service error gave Utah what would be its only set victory of the weekend.
Washington only trailed at one point in the decisive fourth set, 7-6, before they rattled off six-consecutive points to grab control of the match. Utah got as close as three points, 17-14, forcing Cook to call a timeout. The ploy worked as UW rolled out of the timeout by winning the next three points, spurned on by an Endsley kill.
Appropriately, Grote capped a career day by finding the floor on match point, completing an impressive weekend for the Dawgs.
The Huskies embark on two-game road swing next week down to Eugene, Ore. to face the Ducks. The teams will face each other on Friday, March 5 and Sunday, March 7, both matches at 1:00 p.m.