Huskies Sweep No. 15 Stanford For Eighth-Straight
SEATTLE – The 10th-ranked Huskies put together one of their best start-to-finish performances at the right time against 15th-ranked Stanford, sweeping the Cardinal 25-22, 25-23, 25-17 in front of a season-high 3,186 fans at Alaska Airlines Arena. Wearing "retro" jerseys, UW delivered a vintage performance, outhitting the league's top-hitting Stanford squad, .348 to .194 with contributions up and down the lineup.
With its eighth win in a row, Washington (15-3, 8-2 Pac-12) broke a first-place tie with Stanford (12-6, 7-3 Pac-12) and now is in a two-way tie with UCLA for the conference lead at the halfway point in the Pac-12 season. The defending conference champions started 0-2 but ground out three five set wins in a five-match stretch and now the Huskies have won 12 of their past 13 sets. Four wins in a row against Stanford is also the longest win streak ever for the Huskies in the series.
"Certainly the match we've been looking for for a while now, in terms of defensive execution and being good at all phases of the game," said Head Coach Keegan Cook. "As equally frustrated as we've been at times, I just want the athletes to be equally as proud of their performance today."
Stanford's block came in leading the Pac-12 in blocks per set by a large margin, but the Huskies put down 12 blocks compared to seven for Stanford. Leading that battle was senior Lauren Sanders, who surpassed 600 career blocks with a rejection on the first point of the third set. Sanders had seven blocks today to get to 603, becoming the third Husky in history to reach that plateau, the first in the rally scoring era, and the first since her Associate Head Coach Leslie (Tuiasosopo) Gabriel finished her playing days in 1998. Sanders now is 10 blocks away from tying Gabriel for second all-time. She also is the 13th player in Pac-12 history to surpass 600 and just the fifth in the rally scoring era.
"What a match by her," said Cook of the Snohomish, Wash. native. "Lauren has been working really hard day-in and day-out, not every day has been easy. She showed the best of what she can do on both sides of the ball tonight. I loved this match for her."
Claire Hoffman and Samantha Drechsel led the attack once again, with great additions from Marin Grote, Emoni Bush, and Sanders. Hoffman hit a scorching .550 with 14 kills on a mixture of hammered swings past the block, tools off the block, well-placed tips and a wipe or two off blocker hands. Drechsel had 10 kills, and after starting with just 1 kill and 1 error on her first 7 swings, she went 9-1-17 from that point on.
Grote had seven kills on eight swings with just one error to hit .750 and added five blocks. Bush put down eight kills with two blocks, and Sanders had five kills to go with her seven blocks. Spreading things around was All-American Ella May Powell who had 37 assists, seven digs and two blocks.
The first set was tight from the get-go, until the Huskies got the first three-point edge of the set at 17-14 behind consecutive kills from Drechsel and Bush. Stanford cut it to one at 22-21, but Hoffman delivered a kill and then Sanders and Drechsel stuffed one for set points, and the Huskies converted their second.
Set two was crucial, as the teams were tied at 23-all when UW called its last timeout. Out of the break, Hoffman banged one into the seats and then the Huskies got a dig and turned it into another Hoffman kill to win it, 25-23.
The third set saw the Huskies earn the first early lead in any set, going up 5-1 and eventually 10-5 with a trio of blocks by Sanders during the stretch. Stanford got it back to three points but then Grote had two straight blocks as the Huskies had a 4-0 run for 19-12, and UW would stay on point all the way to the 25-17 finish.
UP NEXT: Washington starts the second half of conference play on the road, and will visit the other co-leader in Los Angeles. First the Huskies will battle a hot USC team that entered the day just one game back in the conference race, playing in Galen Center on Friday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. Then it's on to UCLA for a Halloween Day match at 4 p.m. televised live on ESPNU.