Offense Revs Up In Victory Over Hawkeyes
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – 11th-ranked Washington turned in its best offensive percentage this season, and best since 2015, to put away the Iowa Hawkeyes on a neutral floor at Illinois' Huff Hall. The Huskies (3-1) dropped set one but then fully controlled the next three sets to wrap up the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge with a 2-0 record.
Washington hit .495 today, its highest since hitting .500 in a win over Buffalo on Sept. 4, 2015, securing a 26-28, 25-16, 25-14, 25-14 win. UW's All-America pin hitters each had their best matches of the young season, as Claire Hoffman had 20 kills on a .576 percentage and Samantha Drechsel had 18 kills on a .552 mark. In the fourth and final set, the Huskies hit a stunning .812, with 14 kills on 16 attempts with one error.
"Two of our priorities early this season were serve-receive and offensive efficiency," said Head Coach Keegan Cook. "Nice to see Sam have her best match. A team hits .495 that means it received the ball well and the setter did an excellent job distributing."
Ella May Powell was the distributor, and she had a season-high 47 assists, while also adding five of her own kills and hitting .500. Marin Grote had seven kills and hit .417, while Sophie Summers killed all five of her swings in the middle. Shannon Crenshaw had 10 digs and added seven more assists.
Hoffman was named tournament MVP after leading the Dawgs with 32 kills for the weekend. Powell and Grote were also named to the All-Tournament Team. Both Pac-12 squads went 2-0 in Illinois, as Colorado had a 3-2 win over the Fighting Illini in the first match today.
UP NEXT: Washington heads back on the road but stays in the Pacific time zone this time, going south to Malibu, Calif. to take on a Top-25 Pepperdine squad and Cal Poly next Friday and Saturday.
SET 1: Drechsel and Summers had an early block and Drechsel's first kill made it 3-0 to start the match. Emoni Bush put away a kill as it was 5-1 Huskies, but Iowa then scored six of the next eight to tie it back up. The teams continued trading sideouts, with a couple Husky kills from Hoffman, and one each from Summers and Grote in the middle for 12-12. A disputed touch call was challenged by the Huskies but not overturned as Iowa took a 17-19 lead. Summers and Drechsel finished, and Powell had a dump for 20-21, but Iowa scored the next two points to force a UW timeout at 20-23. Iowa scored again out of the break to get four set points, but Hoffman saved one on a set from Powell, then Emma Calle erased the second with an ace. Drechsel had a blast to save the third. On the next play, Calle dove for a dig and it went over and down on Iowa's sideline, initially called wide, but after a replay challenge, it was ruled in and the Huskies were back even at 24-all. UW saved a fifth set point on a Powell dump and then Summers and Hoffman teamed for a block to get the Dawgs a chance at 26-25. But Iowa got a sideout in serve-receive and UW missed a swing just out on the next play. On its sixth set point chance, Iowa's serve caught the net tape and fell over for an ace to end it, 26-28.
The Huskies hit a strong .341 in the frame but Iowa rolled up a .412 percentage. Powell had 16 assists in the set.
SET 2: A couple Hawkeye errors and a Drechsel kill made a 3-0 lead to start the second. Iowa slowly worked back even at 8-8 with a service ace, but the Huskies pushed ahead again, getting a Drechsel right side finish and a solo stuff by Grote for a 13-10 lead. Powell slammed down a kill and then Drechsel had two digs on a nice rally that Hoffman ended for 16-12 and an Iowa timeout. Hoffman had another finish out of the break for a five-point lead. The Huskies ran off with the second set, getting a series of kills late from Sanders, Drechsel, and Endsley, and then winning on their first set point chance on an Iowa error, final score of 25-16.
The Dawgs powered up to a .545 attack percentage in the second set, with Drechsel killing five of her six swings. The defense cooled Iowa off to a .071 mark with 11 digs.
SET 3: Endsley had a left pin blast and two points later hammered down an overpass off a Crenshaw serve, as the Huskies opened up an early 5-2 lead. Drechsel and Endsley had consecutive kills to make it 8-3 Dawgs. Hoffman tooled the block and then she and Grote met up for a stuff that built the lead to 11-4 and forced the Hawkeyes into a timeout. Another rejection from Sanders on the right pin made it 13-6 Dawgs. Hoffman dropped in an ace for 15-7 and then Sanders and Drechsel roofed one to add on another point. The soft touch from Endsley dropped in for a 20-10 cushion. Powell had another well-timed dump for 22-12. A kill from Summers and an Iowa error made it set point at 24-14. Crenshaw bump set Drechsel on the next point and she finished for the 25-14 win.
UW was over .500 for the second-straight set, hitting .519 with 17 kills and just three errors. Crenshaw had five digs to anchor the defense.
SET 4: Drechsel added two more early kills in the fourth set as the teams were even at 3-3. Drechsel fired an ace for a 5-3 lead. Grote made it a 4-0 run with a slide kill for 7-3. Endsley put one down in transition and then Crenshaw dug a rocket and Iowa missed its next swing for 10-3, capping a 7-0 run. Two in a row from Hoffman and an Iowa error made it 14-5 and forced the Hawkeyes timeout. Hoffman then had a trio of kills, two assisted by Crenshaw and one from Calle, as the Dawgs built another ten-point cushion at 17-7. Crenshaw fired an ace for 21-9. Hoffman got the Dawgs to match point at 24-12 assisted by Olivia Mikkelsen, who subbed in late in the third. After Iowa saved a couple, Mikkelsen to Hoffman finished it off, 25-14.
Washington put down nearly every swing in the final set, connecting on 14 kills on 16 attempts, and making just one error. Hoffman was a perfect seven-for-seven in the last set.