Desert Road Swing For No. 20 Dawgs
THIS WEEK IN HUSKY VOLLEYBALL
SEATTLE -- A challenging swing into the desert brings the Huskies two more chances to hone their attack with just three more weeks remaining in the regular season. No. 20 Washington (17-7, 9-5 Pac-12) will have a rare Friday afternoon battle in Tucson against the Wildcats with first serve at 2:00 pm Pacific time. Then it's on to Tempe where the Dawgs will face Arizona State on Sunday at 12 noon Pacific. Both matches will be live stream only.
The Huskies have split each of the past four weeks in conference play, and are now tied for fourth with a 9-5 record. Last week, UW fell on the road at 16th-ranked Oregon but got back on track with a 3-1 win at Oregon State. Claire Hoffman continues to play at her All-American level, ranking fourth in the Pac-12 with a career-high 4.17 kills per set and third with 0.43 aces per set. Ella May Powell is 58 assists shy of the 6,000 mark, something only three Pac-12 setters have achieved including UW's Courtney Thompson.
Looking solely at conference play, the Huskies are now up to second in aces per set at 1.62, and are third in attack percentage at .293. The team is still chasing improvement on the defensive side, where UW is 11th in blocks per set at 1.73, but is coming off its best blocking match of the season in Corvallis with 13.
Arizona lost a tough five setter on Sunday on the road at USC, so the Wildcats are very dangerous despite a 3-11 conference record. Arizona is hitting .212 in Pac-12 play and ranks sixth in blocks (2.28) ninth in digs (13.19) and 10th in aces (1.25). Sofia Maldonado Diaz was excellent at USC, with 22 kills on a .444 attack percentage. She leads the team in Pac-12 play with 3.31 kills per set, and Jaelyn Hodge adds 3.19. Zyonna Fellows is third in blocks per set at 1.36. Kamaile Hiapo is seventh in digs per set with 3.81. The Huskies swept the first meeting in Seattle with a .405 attack percentage and nine aces.
The Sun Devils upset the Huskies in five sets in Seattle just three weeks back, so the Dawgs have that score to settle. Last year in Tempe the Huskies also had to save a match point to grind out a five set win. ASU lost both of its L.A. road matches last week to drop to 5-9 in Pac-12 play. The Sun Devils are ninth in conference play with a .215 attack percentage and rank fourth as a team in digs per set with 14.37 and seventh with 2.21 blocks per set. Iman Isanovic and Marta Levinska are ninth and tenth, respectively, in kills per set in Pac-12 play with 3.63 and 3.57. Levinska is hitting a solid .281. Claire Jeter is hitting .331 with 1.05 blocks per set in league play.