Sept. 26, 2009

EUGENE, Ore. - The third-ranked Washington women's volleyball team ventured into a hostile McArthur Court to face the No. 7 Oregon Ducks in the Pac-10 opener for both teams tonight, and the Huskies walked out with yet another sweep. Washington (11-0, 1-0 Pac-10) won the battle of unbeatens, overcoming Oregon (10-1, 0-1 Pac-10) 25-18, 26-24, 25-19.

Of only eight remaining undefeated teams heading into the weekend, two were on display in front of 3,564 fans at Mac Court. Washington was able to leave with the win thanks in large part to a dominant night of serving, as the Huskies fired 11 aces tonight with only four errors. Oregon had been leading the nation in service aces coming in but managed only three against UW.

Junior Kindra Carlson did a hefty amount of damage in all areas for the Dawgs tonight, leading the team with 13 kills while hitting .308 and also notching seven digs, two blocks and two aces. Senior Airial Salvo had eight kills and sophomore Bianca Rowland and senior Jill Collymore had seven each. Collymore and senior Tamari Miyashiro each had three aces and Miyashiro led the defense with 18 digs, moving within five of the school record. Junior Jenna Hagglund dished 35 assists and had two aces as well. As a team the Huskies outhit the Ducks, .253-.143. This is the third win over a Top-10 team for UW already this season.

"It was a big, important win in a difficult environment for a Pac-10 opener," said head coach Jim McLaughlin. "I liked our composure that we showed in set one after getting down early and again the composure at the end of set two. We served well and played tremendous defense and were able to pressure them quite a bit. That's a real good team we faced tonight."

The Dawgs did not seem too troubled by the hostile crowd in the first set, turning an early 3-7 deficit quickly into a 16-10 lead and coasting from there. After the Ducks took the early lead, Rowland stopped the bleeding with a kill, and then backed that up with a block assisted by Collymore. After a point on Oregon's side, Washington went on a 5-0 run to take its first lead. Collymore had a put-away and then went to work on serve. She fired her first ace of the night, then Carlson found the floor, followed by an Oregon attack error, and a finish from Rowland to put UW up 10-8. Sophomore Lauren Barfield asserted herself in the middle of the first set, picking up a kill and two block assists over a four point span as UW opened up a six-point cushion and the Ducks called time. UO pulled within four but the Dawgs answered with a Carlson-powered four-point spree in which the junior had three kills and Miyashiro had an ace, forcing UO's second timeout at 21-14. The winning point was delivered from the hand of Hagglund who earned her first kill and UW had the set in hand, 25-18. Carlson's five kills led the way in the set and the Huskies outhit the Ducks, .290-.121.

The Ducks came out swinging in the next frame, winning the first four points and leading to Coach McLaughlin calling time to regroup. Airial Salvo snapped the streak, but Oregon got two more for a 6-1 lead. A minute later things had swung round, as UW went on its own 6-1 run to tie the score. Carlson and Rowland had kills, Rowland and Collymore combined on a block, and Miyashiro and Carlson each had service aces to send Oregon back to their bench with their first timeout.

The Huskies continued punishing the Ducks on serve, with Collymore firing consecutive aces, then Hagglund leapt up for a solo block and UW was up 12-9. Oregon rallied with three-straight--two kills from Neticia Enesi and a block from Enesi and Sonja Newcombe. At 18-17 UW, Newcombe stepped up with three kills in a row and the Dawgs called their last timeout. Newcome added a fourth kill, opening a 21-18 Oregon lead, but the Dawgs reeled them in at 23-all helped by Carlson and Salvo finishes. Washington found itself facing set point for the first time all year at 23-24, but Salvo staved off defeat with another kill. Next point, Barfield and Carlson stood in the way of UO's attack and up set point, Hagglund ended the battle with UW's seventh ace of the set. Washington was actually outhit in the second set, .244-.229, but made up for it with 12 points off aces and blocks, compared to no aces and just two blocks for the Ducks.

"I mentioned (11 aces) to the team and they gave a round of applause to (volunteer assistant Tom Murphy) who works on our serve because he's done a great job. It was the best I've seen the Dawgs serve in my time here. But we will get even better."

In the third set, Washington put the pressure on the home team with an early 4-1 run. Back-to-back kills from Collymore off Hagglund assists made it 7-3 and the Ducks took time. A Barfield and Salvo block touched off a big UW rally mid-set. With Hagglund serving up 10-6, Carlson earned a kill and the Dawgs forced two-straight Duck errors prompting another UO timeout. The Huskies didn't let up, and after another Oregon miscue, Hagglund aced the Ducks to make 15-6. Oregon's Katherine Fischer finally ended the run with a kill. With UW in control 18-9, the Ducks went on a 6-1 run to close to within 19-15, but Rowland snapped the Huskies out of it with a kill. Salvo and Carlson had kills down the stretch, then Salvo ended the evening with her eighth kill on match point as the Huskies finished the 25-19 victory. The defense was at its best in set three, limiting Oregon to a match-low .067 hitting.

Washington will now have a day off on Saturday then be back in action against Oregon State in Corvallis on Sunday at 2 p.m.