Dawgs Meet Iowa, No. 19 lllinois On Neutral Ground
THIS WEEK IN HUSKY VOLLEYBALL
SEATTLE -- Week two of the season brings the 14th-ranked Huskies to their first Pac-12 arena of the season, to take on two Big Ten opponents. Colorado hosts this year's installment of the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge, where the Huskies (1-1) will take on Iowa and 19th-ranked Illinois. Matches will be streamed on Pac-12 Insider. The Huskies and Hawkeyes meet on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 11 a.m. Pacific, and on Sunday it's UW against the Illini at 10 a.m. Pacific.
Washington started the season with a setback at Arkansas last week but righted the ship one day later, defeating Arkansas in the rematch for a 1-1 start. The Dawgs however were dropped six spots in the AVCA rankings this week. Washington has responded well to losses in week one in recent years, advancing at least to the Sweet 16 in the past four seasons despite week one losses each year.
This week's four team tourney has rotated host sites since 2018, with Boulder being the final stop in the four season rotation. Thus far, the Huskies have gone 3-0 against the Hawkeyes and 2-1 against the Fightin Illini, winning the past two meetings.
Iowa is off to a 2-1 start, winning its first two matches against Gonzaga and Florida International before losing on the road at Oklahoma. The Hawkeyes have a drastically different look than a year ago, with seven transfers and a new head coach in Jim Barnes. The team is hitting .212 to start and held opponents to a low .115 percentage. Four players had between 22 and 32 total kills last week, led by Michelle Urquhart with 32 kills, hitting .227. Lily Tessier averaged 9.9 assists per set. Mari Hinkle had 4.8 digs per set.
Illinois was a Sweet 16 team a year ago, falling to Nebraska in that round after having upset defending champion Kentucky in the second round. Illinois had an opening loss to 9th-ranked Georgia Tech, but then defeated Ole Miss one day later for a 1-1 start. New transfer Kayla Burbage hit .326 for the weekend with 3.00 kills per set, and Raina Terry and Jessica Nunge both had 3.14 kills per set. Diana Brown averaged 9.43 assists per set. Head Coach Chris Tamas added former Husky legend Krista Vansant to his staff this season.