Huskies Drop Season-Opener At Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For just the second time since 2001, the Huskies came up short in their first match of the season, dropping a 25-18, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22 battle on the road against Arkansas. The eighth-ranked Huskies had trouble slowing down Arkansas' offense as U of A hit .355 for the night in front of a fired-up crowd of 1,462 at Barnhill Arena.
Washington will have a chance to quickly avenge the loss, as the teams will play a rematch on Saturday at 4 p.m. Central/2 p.m. Pacific.
"Serve, serve-receive, and defense come to mind. I don't think we created a lot of pressure, not as much as they did," said Head Coach Keegan Cook. "Defensively, they were really good in the most important parts of the court, at the pins. Certainly they did a nice job offensively. Serve, serve-receive, and success in the outside hitters is where most games are won and lost, and they were better than us in that space. But we got what we came here for. A good, disciplined team that plays clean and creates pressure on opponents, and we'll get another shot tomorrow."
Senior setter Ella May Powell had a homecoming to Fayetteville made bittersweet by the loss, but she tied her career-high with six kills and also surpassed the 5,000 career assist mark during the match. She joins Courtney Thompson and Jenna Hagglund as the only Husky setters with over 5,000 assists.
Arkansas held advantages in attack percentage (.355 to .247), aces (7 to 4), blocks (12.0 to 6.0), and digs (62 to 60).
Washington had four players with double-figure kills, led by Madi Endsley with 11 kills. Emoni Bush, Marin Grote, and Claire Hoffman each had 10. Grote hit .500 with four blocks and Sophie Summers hit .533 with eight kills on 15 swings. Powell's 41 assists and 17 digs gave her the first double-double of the season.
UP NEXT: The Huskies try to bounce back with a rematch on Saturday at 2 p.m. Pacific, streamed live on SEC Network+
SET ONE: The first point of the season went as a serve-reception for Lauren Bays, a set from Ella May Powell, and a hammered kill by Claire Hoffman. Madi Endsley dropped the first ace of the season to open floor for 5-5. Arkansas scored three straight but Powell dumped behind her head for a kill to stop the run for 6-8. Arkansas pushed to a five-point lead at 7-12 and forced a Husky timeout. Emoni Bush got UW out of it with her first kill. Powell threw down her first kill and then teamed with Summers for a block for 13-17. But consecutive Razorback points forced UW's last timeout at 13-19. Arkansas closed out the set by a 25-18 score.
The Dawgs hit .233 in the set but Arkansas hit .406 and had a 3-1 edge in aces.
SET TWO: A kill by Summers, an Arkansas error, and an ace by Powell helped the Huskies get off to a better set two start with the first three points. But Arkansas would get back even with an ace at 7-7. Grote had a solo rejection and then a pair of Arkansas errors made it 12-9 Dawgs and UA took time. Summers added another solo block to make it 14-10 Dawgs. Powell dumped for a kill and then Grote hung in the air to throw back down an Arkansas attack for 19-15. Consecutive finishes from Bush and Endsley got the Dawgs to set point at 24-19, and on the second chance, Grote hammered one down to end it, 25-20.
The Huskies hit .353 in the set and got Arkansas back down to .222 as Bush hit .500 with four kills.
SET THREE: Washington scored the first two points of the third set but then Arkansas scored five straight to force an early Husky timeout. An ace from Bush pulled the Huskies back with two points at 7-9, but Arkansas made another 4-0 run for 9-15 to force the last Husky timeout. Kills by Bush and Hoffman got it to four at 18-22, and a block by Grote and Endsley made it 20-23, but Arkansas got the final two points to take the set by five, and take the 2-1 lead.
UW hit well again in the third at .333 but Arkansas was better, at a .417 mark. The Razorbacks had six blocks in the set to just one for UW.
SET FOUR: In the fourth set, neither team had a two-point lead until an ace by Arkansas made it 9-11. A kill by Endsley had it at 11-12, but Arkansas made a 6-1 run as the Huskies used their final timeout. Down seven points at 13-20, the Huskies clawed back into it with a couple kills from Hoffman for 17-21. Lauren Bays notched an ace and then Arkansas had a setting error for 21-23, forcing Arkansas to take time. But the Razorbacks had a key block out of the break to reach match point. Grote saved one with a kill but Arkansas converted the next chance for the 25-22 win.
Once again the Razorbacks hit .400 in the frame, compared to a .294 mark for the Dawgs.