Huskies Reach Round Of 16 After Tense Five Sets
OMAHA, Neb. – Tied at 11-11 in the fifth set, Washington's stellar season hung on the next few points. The Huskies went on a 4-0 run, staving off the upset bid of the Dayton Flyers and advancing to the Round of 16 at the NCAA Championships for the eighth time in the past nine seasons. An ace from junior Claire Hoffman ended the marathon 25-18, 25-23, 24-26, 21-25, 15-11 at the CHI Health Convention Center and kept the Huskies alive in Omaha.
The Pac-12 Champion Huskies had a match point in the third set that could have completed a straight-set sweep, but had to do things the hard way today against a Dayton squad that swept past Towson in Wednesday's first round while the No. 6-seed Huskies were on a first round bye. It had been twelve days since UW last played a match on Apr. 3 at Cal.
Now the Huskies will play again in three days' time, going up against the 11th-seeded ACC Champions Louisville at a time that's still to be determined. It will be the 16th all-time program appearance in the Sweet 16, and the fifth in six years for Head Coach Keegan Cook.
"Dayton is a program that has a tradition of competing at a really high level, and scheduling tough. We got to play them two years ago and walked away impressed, and I thought this team was even better than that team, and certainly they played extremely well from start to finish," said Cook. "So a lot of respect for that program and the way they played, and proud of our group for putting aside some difficult sets and being their best in the fifth set when they needed to be."
Washington was led by a career-high 20 kills from freshman Madi Endsley in the first NCAA tournament match of her career.
"I thought Madi was outstanding from start to finish," said Cook. "I thought she played true to her identity, and was good in a situation that we recruited her for, so really fun to see her get her first match under her belt and be true to her character."
Madi made for it ... she gets the final two kills of the set from 23-all.
— Washington Volleyball (@UWVolleyball) April 15, 2021
Endsley hit .368 and her 20 kills offset the 20 for Dayton's Jamie Peterson. Claire Hoffman had 13 kills and Samantha Drechsel added 11 while Ella May Powell had 47 assists and five kills of her own.
Shannon Crenshaw was locked in in the back row with 24 digs while Emma Calle had 14 digs and three aces. Washington's block had trouble timing up the Flyers' attacks, as UW had just two blocks total in sets two through four, but the Huskies then blocked three in the fifth set, including one by Marin Grote to set up match point at 14-11. Grote finished with four blocks to lead the way.
Washington improved to 5-2 in five set matches this year, and improved to 15-7 all-time in the NCAA second round.
— NCAA Women's Volleyball (@NCAAVolleyball) April 15, 2021
UP NEXT: Washington and Louisville will square off in the regional semifinals which will remain in the CHI Health Center Omaha Convention Center, with all eight matches played on April 18 on the ESPN Networks. Start times and broadcast info will be announced later tonight.
SET 1: Emma Calle got things going in a big way with two aces to start the first set. Ella May Powell added another ace for 5-4 Dawgs. Endsley crushed a couple swings from the left to keep the Huskies up one, 10-9. Calle's third ace pushed UW to a 12-9 advantage. Another tough Calle serve forced Dayton into a timeout at 13-9. But the Flyers came out of the timeout with three straight to pull back within one. Grote had a kill as UW got back out to a 16-13 lead, but Dayton again pulled within one at 17-16. Grote finished a quick and then Crenshaw dropped in UW's fifth ace for 19-16, and a Dayton error prompted a Flyers timeout at 20-16. Sanders got UW's first block out of the timeout for 21-16, and then on the very next point, Endsley got the second stuff, for 22-16. Endsley closed out the set for the Dawgs with two more kills as UW finished on a 8-2 run for the 25-18 win.
SET 2: Big kills from Hoffman and Drechsel helped the Huskies open up a 6-4 lead at the start of the second set. Powell saved a tight pass by poking it over deep for a kill to make it 9-7. Hoffman finished hard crosscourt for 11-9, but Dayton tied it up at 11, and then had a 3-0 run to make it 12-14 Flyers. Endsley put one away for 13-14, but Dayton took the 13-15 lead at the media timeout. A diving Crenshaw dig led to a back row Drechsel kill, and then Sanders finished a slide to tie it back up at 16-all. Another great rally was ended by Drechsel as UW went back up, 18-17. Drechsel hammered the pipe set from Powell as the teams kept trading points. UW took timeout at 20-20. Hoffman finished from the right out of the timeout but Dayton scored the next two to retake the lead. But some Husky defense forced Dayton into a couple errors and a timeout at 23-22. Dayton got the sideout out of the break and UW called its own last timeout. Endsley finished from the left for set point at 24-23. Crenshaw had a great dig and Powell kept it off the net and targeted Endsley, who painted the back line with her ninth kill for the 25-23 win.
SET 3: Dayton came out strong in the opening stages of the third set, building a lead of three at 4-7. But the Huskies had a 4-0 run to tie and take the lead on Hoffman's serve, with kills by Drechsel and Endsley getting UW on top, 11-10. Sanders ran all the way from the left to right to take a Powell slide set and put it down, and then Drechsel followed that with an ace for 15-13 at the media timeout. Consecutive kills by Endsley and Hoffman had the Dawgs in great shape at 18-14, but after a Dayton timeout, the Flyers came immediately back and tied it with a 4-0 run as the Huskies made a couple hitting errors to let the lead get away. Down 22-23, Endsley connected for the tie, and then Drechsel floated an ace for a match point chance at 24-23. Dayton saved it with a kill and then the Huskies hit one long on the next rally, losing a challenge for a touch call. At 24-25, another Husky swing went long but a touch was called by the up official. This time Dayton challenged it and they got the reversal, and UW dropped the set, 24-26.
SET 4: Powell dove to save a serve off the net and it went over and fell on Dayton's side for a kill at 1-1. Grote had a more traditional kill on a slide for 3-4. Drechsel finished from the right in transition and Endsley tooled the block for 7-7. Dayton used a couple short serves to score twice but Powell ended the run with a dump for 9-10. Washington had been without a block for a long stretch, but Powell and Grote finally got one for 12-11, and then Hoffman finished a rally from the left for 13-11. A Dayton ace tied it up again at 15-15, but Endsley answered again from the left. But the Huskies overpassed for an easy Flyers kill and a questionable back row setter call against UW was followed by a couple Dayton errors as suddenly the Huskies found themselves down 16-21 after a 5-0 Dayton run. Endsley sparked the Dawgs back with three straight booming kills from the left to get to 19-21 and force a Dayton timeout. The Flyers got one out of the break but then Powell dumped for a kill and Dayton tipped wide for 21-22. But that was all UW could get, as Dayton had an ace to reach set point at 21-24 and blocked UW on the next rally to end it.
SET 5: Drechsel got UW going with a big swing to start the fifth. Drechsel then was in on two-straight huge blocks on the right pin as the Huskies matched their block totals from sets two through four on just two points, opening up a 5-3 lead. After a Drechsel finish, Dayton made two straight errors for 8-4 UW at the media timeout. Sanders finished a slide for 9-5, and Powell had a well-timed dump for 10-7. But UW then missed serve and ended the next two rallies by hitting long as well and it was back even at 10-10. Dayton gave two service errors to the Dawgs for 12-11, and then a Dayton blocking error made it 13-11 and Dayton took time. Out of the break, the Flyers tried to run a quick in the middle but Grote was all over it for a block and match point. Hoffman went back and after Dayton's last timeout, her serve was shanked over Dayton's bench area and the Flyers couldn't save it. The Huskies had finished on a 4-0 run to win, 15-11.