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Huskies Are Pac-12 Champions For Seventh Time

Nov 27, 2021

SEATTLE – At the start of October, the defending Pac-12 Volleyball Champions were staring at an 0-2 start to their title defense. It took every bit of grit, skill, and leadership that a championship team possesses to win the conference title again, but Washington finished off the journey today at Alaska Airlines Arena.
The 12th-ranked Huskies (24-4, 17-3 Pac-12) defeated 21st-ranked Washington State in the Boeing Apple Cup Series to finish the regular season alone atop the Pac-12 with a 17-3 record, securing the program's seventh Pac-12 title. It's the second Pac-12 title of the calendar year for the Dawgs, who won the 2020 conference title in the spring of 2021, after it was delayed due to the pandemic.

When UW last hoisted the Pac-12 trophy on Apr. 3, 2021, the team did it in a mostly empty Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif., with fans not permitted to attend. Washington went on to make the NCAA Final Four in front of limited crowds.
But today was a different story. A season-high crowd of 4,079 fans cheered UW on every point towards its 25-22, 18-25, 25-18, 25-16 victory over the Cougars (19-11, 13-7 Pac-12).
"It was the moment they didn't have last year, and it meant a lot," said Head Coach Keegan Cook. "These kids work hard for their university and their community and they want to share their craft with the fans, and we thought maybe this could be the crowd that would show up, and it was, and it was the environment I think we deserve when you're competing for a Pac-12 Championship. Loved it."

Prior to the match, Washington honored seniors Emma Calle, Samantha Drechsel, and Lauren Sanders on their final regular season home match.
"Certainly we wanted that one for our seniors," said Cook. "For a moment there it got a little dodgy, but I had a lot of confidence that our team would respond in the third and fourth sets, and man, did they ever. Really thrilled for our kids."

Cook has now won four Pac-12 titles in his seven seasons at the helm of the Huskies. But his teams had never had to do it after an 0-2 start. The Huskies won 17 of 18 matches from that point, and finished the regular season on an eight-match win streak.
"We lost our opening two matches, and since then we gritted out a lot of wins, and lately we've been playing at a really high level, siding out close to seventy percent. That's the most important thing, we want to be playing our best in December, and we're pretty close to that right now," Cook said.
Washington also got a measure of revenge against the Cougars, who had won four in a row in the Boeing Apple Cup Series. The Cougars had won the first meeting in an epic five set marathon in Pullman, which dropped the Dawgs to 0-2 in conference at the time.
Today the Huskies won a tight first set battle but then WSU rolled to a huge lead early in set two and hung on to win to even it up. But the Dawgs then dominated sets three and four to secure the Pac-12 title, finishing one game up on UCLA.
The Huskies hit .303 for the match and Washington State hit .206. The Dawgs had a big edge in blocks, 14.0 to 6.0, with senior Sanders adding a team-high eight to get to 642 in her career.
Drechsel delivered a great Senior Day match as well, with 17 kills on a .279 percentage with four blocks, and Calle also made her return to action on Senior Day and picked up an ace.
Ella May Powell distributed 47 assists and had four blocks. Claire Hoffman hit .333 with 14 kills and four aces, three coming during a run that broke open the fourth set. Marin Grote was outstanding running the slide, as she had 12 kills on 19 swings without an error to hit .632, adding five blocks.
UP NEXT: Washington will learn its NCAA tournament path tomorrow when the NCAA Selection Show airs on ESPNU at 5:30 p.m. Pacific time. It will be Washington's 20th consecutive NCAA tournament.

Pac-12 Women's Volleyball Titles All-Time
19 - Stanford
7 - Washington (2004, 2005, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2020, 2021)
7 - UCLA
5 - USC
1 - Arizona
1 - California