Washington Seeks Twelfth Elite Eight Against Cardinals
THIS WEEK IN HUSKY VOLLEYBALL
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS • REGIONAL ROUND
CHI Health Center Omaha Convention Center and Arena | Omaha, Neb.
MONDAY, APRIL 19 • QUARTERFINALS
(6) WASHINGTON/(11) Louisville winner vs. (3) Minnesota/Pittsburgh winner
9 am PT • ESPNU or ESPN2
OMAHA, Neb. - The Omaha bubble has shrunk from 48 down to 16 teams. Washington survived a stern second round challenge to prolong its stay in Nebraska, and now the Huskies will try to book another week's stay. The Huskies (18-3) are set to battle ACC Champion Louisville (15-2) in the Sweet 16 this Sunday, Apr. 18, at 12:30 p.m. Pacific/2:30 p.m. Central time. The match will be streamed online on ESPN3.
The winner between the Huskies and Cardinals will have a quick turnaround for an Elite Eight match-up against the winner between No. 3-seed Minnesota and unseeded Pittsburgh, another ACC squad, which upset No. 14 Utah in the second round. That Elite Eight match is set for Monday, Apr. 19, at 9 a.m. Pacific/11 a.m. local, on ESPN2, for a spot in the Final Four.
Due to Covid-19 protocols, the entire volleyball championship is being held in Omaha, Nebraska. For the Round of 16, the venue remains the CHI Health Center Omaha Convention Center. The Elite Eight matches will move into the CHI Health Center Omaha Arena. The Final Four will take place on Apr. 22 with the championship match on Apr. 24.
After a first round bye, the Huskies took on the Dayton Flyers in round two on Thursday. Washington had five aces in the first set and pulled out a close second set for a 2-0 lead. But Dayton wouldn't go quietly. Washington had a match point to finish things in three sets at 24-23, but the Flyers won three straight to extend the match, and then took the fourth set as well. Tied at 11-11, the Huskies ended the fifth set on a 4-0 run to finally move on. Freshman Madi Endsley was the main offensive weapon, as she set a new career-high with 20 kills and hit .368. Shannon Crenshaw's 24 digs were two off her career-high, and UW out-dug Dayton, 71-65. The Huskies are 8-0 when they outdig their opponents. The Dawgs had just seven blocks for the match, but three came in the fifth set.
Louisville also had a fight on its hands in the second round, holding off San Diego in four, 14-25, 25-23, 25-17, 29-27. Junior Claire Chaussee had one of the best matches of the first two rounds, posting 21 kills on a .541 attack percentage. Amaya Tillman had 9 blocks as Louisville had a 15-7 blocks advantage. The Cardinals went 12-2 to win the ACC, losing only their opener to Notre Dame and splitting two matches against Pittsburgh. Louisville won four of the five ACC awards, with Tori Dilfer winning Setter of the Year, Tillman winning Defensive Player of the Year, outside hitter Anna DeBeer winning Freshman of the Year, and head coach Dani Busboom Kelly was Coach of the Year. Opposite Aiko Jones and middle Anna Stevenson were also All-ACC First Team. Washington and Louisville's only previous meeting was back in 1993, a five setter won by the Huskies.
This is Washington's 19th-consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, which is now the fifth-longest active streak in the NCAA and the longest in the Pac-12. In the most recent tournament, in December of 2019, the Huskies advanced to the Elite Eight before falling at No. 1 Baylor. The Dawgs have now advanced to at least the Round of 16 in eight of the past nine years and 16 times overall. The Huskies have an impressive 11-4 record in the Round of 16.
The Huskies won the Pac-12 title for the sixth time in program history, and the third time under sixth-year Head Coach Keegan Cook. Ella May Powell was named Pac-12 Setter of the Year, while Powell, Samantha Drechsel, and Claire Hoffman were all named All-Pac-12, with Lauren Sanders and Marin Grote earning honorable meniton.