No. 5 Washington Closes Out The Regular Season With A Sweep Of Arizona State
SEATTLE, Wash. - The fifth-ranked Huskies closed out their regular season in style, taking a quick 3-0 decision over Arizona State (25-12, 25-21, 25-18) Saturday night in the Bank of America Arena. Washington (24-4, 15-3 Pac-10) clinched second place in the Pac-10 and setter Jenna Hagglund moved up to fourth place all-time in career assists.
The Huskies will now await Sunday's NCAA Tournament selection to learn who they will face in the NCAA Tournament first round next weekend, Dec. 4-6.
Hagglund picked up 36 assists in the outing, besting the old fourth-place career record by six assists. She added 11 digs, good for her 10th double-double of the season.
"With the hitters we have, I'm going to get tons of assists," said Hagglund. "When we're passing and we're on, it's tough to stop our offense. As long as we keep running our system, and winning the serve and pass, our offense will be good. It's really a tribute to my hitters."
Senior Jessica Swarbrick had an outstanding night, nailing nine kills on 11 swings with zero errors and an .818 attack clip. To that, the senior added five block assists. Swarbrick is now just five blocks away from overtaking third place all-time in total career blocks. Sophomore Kindra Carlson hit .500 on the evening, picking up nine kills and a career-high nine blocks [1-8]. Freshman Bianca Rowland was also impressive, landing five kills on nine swings (.500) and tallying six block assists. Junior Jill Collymore recorded four service aces in the match, to go with nine kills, seven digs and six blocks [1-5].
As a team, Washington out-hit the Sun Devils .294-.095 and tallied more kills (43-31), more assists (41-30), more service aces (6-2), more digs (47-42) and more blocks (14.0-6.0).
"We started out great and we finished great, but there was a little lack of focus in between," said head coach Jim McLaughlin. "But we got back on task and played well. We did a nice job blocking."
In the decisive third set, Washington got out to a quick 9-4 lead, aided by a four-point run that included a Collymore ace and back-to-back kills by Swarbrick. The Sun Devils called their first timeout of the set, hoping to cool Collymore's hot serve. Coming out of the break, Airial Salvo registered a kill, followed by another ace by Collymore. A Washington attack error put the ball on Arizona State's side of the net and drove the score to 11-5. The Sun Devils tried to chip away at the Huskies' lead, but Washington went up 20-11, forcing Arizona State into its second timeout. The Sun Devils pieced together and three-point run on a kill and back-to-back blocks, but were unable to catch up to the Huskies, who won the set, 25-18.
The second stanza was the closest of the three. Washington took an early 4-1 lead, but the Sun Devils persistently chipped away, using a four point run and a three point run to take control of the set, 11-9. The Huskies called a timeout to regroup. A kill by Rowland put Washington back within a point and a kill by Salvo tied the set at 11-11. Hagglund notched a well-timed service ace to take the lead and a solo block by Carlson gave the Huskies a two-point edge, 13-11. The Huskies gave a point back, but then took two on an ASU service error and a kill by Carlson, causing the Sun Devils to take a timeout. Washington built a 19-15 lead, but then gave up a four point run, tying the set at 19 all. Washington called its second timeout of the set. Swarbrick gave the Huskies back the lead with a kill, followed by an ace by Collymore to give Washington a two-point cushion. ASU hung with the Dawgs, but back-to-back kills by Salvo and Collymore closed out the set for Washington, 25-21.
Arizona State struck first in the opening set, building an early 4-1 lead. Washington responded by reeling off a quick three point run on a kill by Carlson, a block assist by Collymore and Swarbrick, and an ASU attack error, tying the set at 5-5. The Huskies gave two points back and stayed within a point until a kill by Rowland unleashed a five-point scoring binge and put the Huskies in control of the set, 12-9. A Washington service error put the ball back on ASU's side of the net, but a kill by Rowland touched off a three-point run for the Dawgs, forcing the Sun Devils into their first timeout of the set. A Husky attack error gave the Sun Devils a point, but Washington reeled off four straight on two blocks, a kill and an ASU attack error. Arizona State scored one more, but a six point scoring drive - the longest for either team all night - would shut the Sun Devils down. Collymore recorded three kills and Swarbrick and Salvo each chipped in a kill apiece during the run. Washington took the set, 25-12.
"It's a good way to finish the Pac-10 and now the best part of the year starts," said McLaughlin. "We've got to approach it like it's the last match of the season, which it could be. We can't worry about the next one, we can't worry about our record, our seed, our wins. Nothing matters but our preparation and focus."
Washington will learn its NCAA Tournament fate Sunday night at 7pm when the live selection show airs on ESPNU. The Huskies will host the NCAA West Regional on Dec. 12-13 and should they advance to that round, are guaranteed to play in the Bank of America Arena. For ticket information and NCAA Tournament information, log on to GoHuskies.com.
Article courtesy of Washington athletics.