Seniors All Share In Win Over USC On Senior Night
SEATTLE – Likely the final point in Alaska Airlines Arena this season was put away by Claire Hoffman on a set from Ella May Powell. It couldn't have been a more perfect ending for two of the most prolific and accomplished seniors in Husky history, as they went out winners on Senior Night along with fellow seniors Dani Cole, Shannon Crenshaw, Marin Grote and Sianna Houghton. The 24th-ranked Huskies beat a strong USC squad in the penultimate match of the regular season, 25-23, 25-23, 15-25, 25-16, in front of 4,213 fans.
Washington reached the 20-win plateau for the 21st season in a row with the victory over the Trojans, and tied the Trojans in fourth-place in the conference at 12-7 with one match remaining, which will take the Huskies to Pullman for a Friday night battle with Washington State. It was the first and only meeting of the year between UW and USC, as the Huskies won their fifth-straight in the series.
Head Coach Keegan Cook couldn't have imagined Senior Night going any other way for the class of six that has achieved so much in its time on Montlake.
"I don't think anything else would have felt appropriate for this group, so I knew they were motivated," Cook said. "The seniors were the best of who they are on their night. They've won consistently ever since they've been here and it's who they are. You want to play a good match for the last time, but I don't think they were going to leave here with anything other than a victory."
Senior ?? Senior to finish the Husky Win!! ????
— Washington Volleyball (@UWVolleyball) November 24, 2022
Washington broke 23-all ties with the final two points to take each of the first two sets. The Trojans, who hit .339 on the night, answered with a big third set, but UW revved up with a .583 attack in set four to put it away. It was win No. 112 for the class of fifth-year seniors.
"Winning two close sets was big to start the match. USC was really good and kept swinging in that third set. I was impressed, we made some adjustments in the fourth and asked our team to try some different things, and it paid off blocking and attacking and we blew it open that last set so I was happy about that.
The Huskies finished hitting .306 for the match, with contributions from the five available seniors. Fourteen kills from Hoffman led the team, on a .400 attack percentage, and Powell had 32 assists and nine digs. Grote hit a stellar .615 with nine kills on 13 swings. Crenshaw had six big kills, hitting .455, while Houghton also chipped in six digs.
Sophie Summers had a strong night with six blocks and six kills, hitting .417, and Lauren Bays continued to earn points on her serve and dug seven balls. Molly Wilson also came up with two aces in a serving sub role, while Emoni Bush had five kills, and two aces, one to seal the second set.
— Washington Volleyball (@UWVolleyball) November 24, 2022
UP NEXT: Washington finishes the regular season with the second half of the Boeing Apple Cup Series against Washington State on Friday at 6 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks. The NCAA Selection Show will then take place this coming Sunday, Nov. 27, at 4:30 p.m. Pacific on ESPNU.
SET ONE: Claire Hoffman had the first point of the match, the start of a quick 2-0 lead for the Huskies. Bush collected her first ace to make it 7-5. The scoring remained a back-and-forth affair for much of the first set, with neither team leading by more than two points up to a 13-13 tie. Kills from Summers and Grote preceded a timeout with the score at 15-13. The Huskies' scoring run would roll all the way to 4-0, but USC continued to deliver strong returns and responded with a 3-0 run of their own to induce a timeout from Washington, the score at 17-16. A USC timeout after an ace from Molly Wilson saw the score at 21-19. After a service error from the Trojans which brought the score to a tie at 22-22, Emoni Bush laced her fourth kill into the open middle of the USC side. A service error and attack error from the Trojans allowed the Huskies to claim the set by a score of 25-23.
SET TWO: The Trojans opened the second set with an ace, but Hoffman responded swiftly with a convincing kill on the next point, knotting it at 1-1. A 3-0 run helped USC build a lead that was maintained during the opening half of the set. A huge block from Summers brought the total to 6-7, but the Huskies couldn't keep a lid on the Trojans, whose lead grew to four at 12-16. Marin Grote's first block of the match brought the score to 16-17, and she added another assertive walling of the USC attack to take Washington's first lead of the set at 18-17. Grote's dominance would continue next with a kill, and Hoffman added one of her own to bring the lead to 20-17, which brought a huge roar from the crowd and capped a 7-0 Husky surge. The Huskies would call a timeout after USC inched back, the score sitting 20-19. The two teams continued to battle before another Washington timeout at 22-22. A kill from Summers was assisted by Powell to get to set point, then Bush followed with a brilliant served that fell off the table in front of the diving USC libero for an ace that netted Washington another 25-23 set victory.
SET THREE: USC got in front right away in the third set and UW was never able to get back even after an 0-3 start. The Huskies brought the score to 2-3, but had difficulty slowing down the Trojans, who pulled ahead 3-7. A block formed by Hoffman and Summers brought the score to 5-8. The Huskies would call a time out after falling back 5-11, with the Dawgs earning just two kills in the set at that point. Hoffman had a kill backed up by an ace to trim the gap to four at 9-13. Powell and Summers roofed one, and Crenshaw had a great out of system put-away for 11-15, but USC scored twice to push it back to six and force the last Husky timeout. USC closed it on a 4-0 run from 21-15 to close the set.
SET FOUR: Summers opened the fourth set with a kill and then teamed with Hoffman for a block to get the early momentum. A Bays serve was overpassed and Crenshaw hit it down for 4-1, and then Hoffman finished in transition for a 5-1 lead, and Bays added an ace for 6-1 before USC got her off the line. The teams traded sideouts for a stretch until a 4-1 Husky run pushed the edge to 15-9 at the media timeout as Crenshaw, Hoffman, and Grote all terminated. A Hoffman serve was overpassed and Powell went up and took a full swing, hammering it down for 17-10 and forcing the USC timeout. The Huskies didn't let the Trojans sniff a comeback, with a Summers strike and another block from Summers and Crenshaw making it 21-13, forcing the last USC timeout. Two more kills from Hoffman and a Grote finish got the Dawgs to match point at 24-16. After a back and forth, Powell went to Hoffman for one final time in Hec Ed, and she put it away for the win.