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Powell's Block, Hoffman's Swings Key Another 3-2 Thriller

Oct 10, 2021

TEMPE, Ariz. – The wins aren't coming easy, but the wins are coming for 11th-ranked Washington, as the Huskies survived another huge scare in the desert today, saving two match points to defeat Arizona State, 22-25, 25-15, 25-18, 21-25, 17-15 at Desert Financial Arena. It was Washington's fourth-straight win, the fourth-straight win after dropping the first set, and also the third five-set win this season for the Dawgs (11-3, 4-2 Pac-12)
 
All-American setter Ella May Powell made the play of the season thus far for the Huskies when UW was down a match point in set five and passed the serve-receive up over the net to a waiting Sun Devil who went up to spike it and potentially end the match, but Powell alertly turned and raised up and blocked the ASU swing back down to keep the Huskies alive at 15-15. Then another block by Lauren Sanders and Madi Endsley put the Huskies in front by one, and an Arizona State net violation on the next rally ended it.
 
Head Coach Keegan Cook commented on the match-saver, "It's always been Ella May's elite skill – her intangible desire to win and the willingness to do whatever it takes to make it happen. That could have been the end of the match and she led us out of it."

 
Outside hitter and All-American Claire Hoffman put down a career-high 25 kills today, most by a Husky since Kara Bajema on Nov. 27, 2019, and three more than Hoffman's previous high. Hoffman started slow with just two kills and three errors in set one, but from sets two-through-five she hit .478 with 23 of her kills.
 
Washington hit .000 in set one but then never less than .324 the rest of the way, including a .447 percentage in set three and a .423 mark in set five. Powell had 56 assists, 11 digs, three aces, and three blocks, and she moved to ninth in school history with 126 career aces.
 
The Dawgs had a 13.0 to 3.0 edge in blocks though the Sun Devils still hit a strong .275 overall. Lauren Sanders had a season-high 10 blocks. The Huskies also had a 10-5 edge in aces. Arizona State had a 68-63 lead in digs, but freshman libero Lauren Bays shot past the 20 digs mark for the first time in her career with 23.
 
"Defensively, I felt like the block's getting to better places but we just were not able to contain well late," said Cook. "I also thought ASU had a lot of good execution and we didn't have our best service pressure. Every match has been tough. We're just working on executing the right defensive assignments more often. But a lot of good to speak of. Claire was tremendous after a tough opening set. She played consistently and led us."
 
Samantha Drechsel sent down 14 kills with five blocks and Madi Endsley had 13 kills, hitting .265, with seven digs and three blocks. Marin Grote added seven kills without an error on 18 swings to hit .389.

 
UP NEXT: Washington is halfway through a four-match road stretch and now has a big showdown set with 14th-ranked Oregon next Thursday in Eugene. The Ducks are tied for first in the Pac-12 at 5-1, one game ahead of the Huskies. First serve will be at 7 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.