Sanders Stands Tall In Husky Sweep
SEATTLE – Senior Lauren Sanders sent back 10 Trojan swings today to move into a tie for fourth in career blocks by a Husky, leading the Dawgs to a 25-16, 26-24, 25-14 sweep of USC at Alaska Airlines Arena. No. 8 Washington (13-3) completed the 2-0 series win over the Trojans (3-7) for its first season sweep of USC since the 2014 season.
Washington posted a dominant 14 blocks to hold USC to just a .112 attack percentage, while USC blocked just 3 Husky swings. The 10 blocks for Sanders was a career-high for a three-set match, and just the fifth time since 2008 that a Husky has had double figure blocks in a three-setter. She moved past current volunteer assistant coach Melanie Wade and tied 2011 grad Bianca Rowland for fourth-place with 492 career blocks.
The Huskies were equally strong on the offensive side of things, hitting .341 today, their third-highest percentage of the season. All-American setter Ella May Powell spread things out, getting Samantha Drechsel 10 kills and nine kills apiece from Claire Hoffman and Madi Endsley. Powell finished with 28 assists and six digs.
"Most pleased with our execution from the service line and blocking at the net," said Head Coach Keegan Cook. "Those are two areas we thought we left a lot of points on the board in the first match. So I'm really proud of the team coming in and serving on their own yesterday and locked in on the scouting report and made a big change."
The crucial moment of the match was the end of the second set, as Washington led 23-21 only to see USC score three straight points to get a set point at 23-24. But the Trojans missed a serve, and then Hoffman fired an ace that was shanked back out of play for 25-24. Then Hoffman adjusted her sights and dropped the next serve short for a second-straight ace, and the Huskies had suddenly grabbed the 2-0 lead, and they went on to dominate in the third set.
Hoffman finished with a career-high four aces. She had previously posted three aces in a match on seven occasions. Endsley matched her with four aces in her first extended serving run in a few weeks.
"Big moments from Claire and Lauren, two players who are reliable and Claire hit some big serves and Lauren had some tremendous play at the net," said Cook. "We talked about how aggressive a serving team USC is, and I thought we managed it better and then our out-of-system setting was as good as it's been. Staying true to our identity is the story of the match; serving tough, blocking tough, and hitting the ball in, hard, a lot, is who we aspire to be."
UP NEXT: Washington and Washington State clash next week in a series that is absolutely crucial to the conference race. The Huskies have played four more matches than WSU to this point, but the Cougars remain in first with a 10-2 record, an .833 win percentage, ahead of UW's .812 win percentage at 13-3. The teams will get one match each at home. First will be Friday, Mar. 19, in Pullman at 6 p.m.
SET 1: Drechsel crushed her first swing of the match for 1-1 in the first set, and then Sanders teamed with Hoffman for a block for a 4-3 lead. Endsley then made her return to the serving line and promptly ripped two aces in a row, and after a Hoffman kill USC took timeout at 7-3. Endsley smacked another ace out of the timeout for a five point lead, but USC scored six of the next eight points to get it back to 10-9. But UW responded with three in a row, two killed by Hoffman, for 13-9. Endsley powered one through the block off a Shannon Crenshaw set for 16-11 and USC used its last timeout. Sanders and Drechsel then roofed one on the next point, and Sanders would get two more blocks to push the lead to 19-12. Hoffman put down a Powell set for set point at 24-16 and a USC error ended it, 25-16.
The Huskies hit .360 in the frame while USC hit .000. Sanders got four blocks and Hoffman went 5-0-10 to hit .500.
SET 2: Sanders solo stuffed a quick attempt in the middle for a 5-4 lead in the second set, but then the Trojans scored four in a row to make it 5-8. Sanders and Endsley stopped that run with a block, and then Drechsel put an ace between two Trojans, and Powell found Sanders for a kill to tie it back up at 8-8. Powell had a brilliant backwards flip of a tight pass for a kill for 10-11. The Trojans had another run of four points to put the Huskies into a timeout down 12-16. Sophie Summers subbed in and gave the Dawgs a big spark, blocking two in a row out of the timeout. An Endsley kill was followed by the first two aces for Hoffman and suddenly the Huskies were up 17-16 on a 5-0 run. After a USC timeout, Drechsel connected for a sixth point and 18-16. The teams traded sideouts all the way until a Hoffman kill made it 23-21. USC answered with a quick kill out of the middle, and then got a transition kill to tie it and the Huskies called time. Again the Dawgs got a swing but couldn't finish and USC transitioned for 23-24, but then missed serve for 24-all. Hoffman then put UW back in front with an ace, and she went right back and dropped the next serve short for another ace and UW had grabbed it, 26-24.
The Trojans outhit the Huskies in the second set, .270 to .237, but a 4.0 to 2.0 blocking edge, and the five aces made up for it. Drechsel had five kills in the set, hitting .333.
SET 3: Sanders crushed three more blocks in the first six points of the third set, and Endsley's fourth ace gave UW a 5-2 lead. The Trojans got back level at 6-6, but kills from Drechsel and Summers helped UW push back out to an 11-7 lead. Endsley put one away on the left for 13-9 and USC took timeout. Powell dumped into the middle of the court for a 15-10 lead, and a USC error made it 16-10 and prompted their last timeout. Sanders and Endsley teamed for another block out of that break and the Huskies didn't look back. Summers added two more kills late to get UW to match point at 24-15, and a Hoffman serve was overpassed on the next point and Endsley went up and hammered it for the 25-15 win.
The Dawgs hit a sizzling .480 in the set and again held USC to a .000 percentage thanks to six blocks, four from Sanders. Endsley had five kills and Summers was 3-for-3 in the frame.