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Huskies Can’t Complete Upset Bid At No. 2 Texas

Dec 9, 2021

AUSTIN, Texas – 15th-seeded Washington knocked down No. 2 Texas twice in its sold out home gym, but the Huskies couldn't deliver the knockout blow, as the Longhorns rallied to end Washington's season in the NCAA Round of 16 by the final of 19-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-9, 15-9. The two conference champions and Final Four participants in the spring had to meet in the tourney's third round this year, but played a dramatic match worthy of the latter stages.
The two perennial powers were meeting for the first time in NCAA tourney play. The Dawgs had taken the crowd of 4,488 at Gregory Gym mostly out of it midway through the third set, holding a 2-0 lead and a 15-10 lead in the third and executing flawlessly on offense. But Texas (27-1) went on a 7-1 run to get back into the third.
The Huskies scored three in a row to move back up, 19-17, in set three, but Texas came back and scored four of the final five points from 21-21. The Longhorns carried that momentum into a big run to start set four, and then pulled away late in the fifth set to finish the comeback.

"Everything we hoped for except for the result there," said Head Coach Keegan Cook. "Texas was the great team that we thought they were. Always thought that the team that made it out of this regional would have a great shot to do it all, and I certainly feel the same way at the end of this match. Proud of my group; thought they represented themselves pretty darn well for a 15 seed, and did a lot of things at an extremely high level for a long period of time, and that's all you can ask for. You have to give (Texas) credit for doing everything at a higher level. I thought they created some huge plays at the end of the third set when things really mattered. We needed a few kills, we took some good swings, they dug and they made some plays. From there I thought every aspect of their game improved, but most of all their defense. We struggled to score points in the later sets, we sided out at 64-percent in the fifth set, which we feel pretty good about, but they sided out at 100-percent and you have to play some defense and create in those moments. Always comes down to just a few plays; I'll think about that third set for a while, but that's sports."
Washington fell a few points shy of advancing to the Elite Eight for a third-straight season and fifth time in seven years. UW was making its ninth NCAA Round of 16 appearance in ten years. The Huskies finish with a 26-5 record, having won the Pac-12 twice in one calendar year, back in the spring and again this fall with a 17-3 mark.
It was the final match for super seniors Samantha Drechsel, Emma Calle, and Lauren Sanders. The class set a record with 118 wins during their time as Dawgs.

Drechsel led the way in her final collegiate match with 19 kills, finishing with 1,490 for her Husky career and 1,701 overall counting her first year at Maryland. The 1,490 passes Kara Bajema for sixth in UW history. Drechsel also tied her career-high with five aces tonight.
Sanders had three kills including two in set five, and four blocks, to finish with 649 blocks for her career, fourth-most in Pac-12 history. Claire Hoffman put away 14 kills with nine digs, and Marin Grote hit .545 with seven kills on 11 swings plus three blocks. Ella May Powell collected 42 assists and four kills.

The Dawgs were hitting .400 after two sets but finished at .211 as Texas ramped up its service pressure and defense. The Longhorns only hit under .300 in the first set, and wound up at .346 for the match. The teams finished even with seven aces and Texas had a 12.0 to 9.0 blocks edge and a 55-47 lead in digs.