While it may have been the Washington football team that stole the headlines with Thursday’s come-from-behind 17-13 victory against No. 8 Stanford, the Husky women’s volleyball team’s exploits were just as impressive last week.
The fifth-ranked Huskies notched back-to-back victories against No. 4 UCLA and No. 3 USC — marking the first time Washington defeated top-five teams in consecutive matches since 2006. UW improved to 13-0, the program’s best start since beginning the 2009 season 15-0. It was the seventh time in the past eight years the Huskies have swept the Los Angeles schools at home.
In the ultra-competitive Pac-12, a weekend sweep of the defending NCAA champion Bruins and the Trojans is quite a feat. The league boasts two other top-10 teams — No. 2 Oregon and No. 7 Stanford — so the conference title feels like it is on the line every week.
Outside hitter Krista Vansant — last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year — starred for the Huskies in UW’s five-set win against UCLA, knocking down a career-high 31 kills and posting a .448 hitting percentage. The Huskies were down 2-1 in the match before rallying in the last two sets.
Vansant followed up with a team-leading 12 kills on a .370 hitting percentage and seven digs in a sweep of the Trojans before a season-high crowd of 4,083 fans at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle.
“It proves we can beat anyone,” Vansant said after the UCLA match. “If we stay composed and do our thing, I think we’ll be really tough to stop.”
Head coach Jim McLaughlin commented how much his team grew up this week, especially since it could have been susceptible to a letdown against USC following a tough UCLA match. “We were talking about an opportunity to take another step forward,” he said. “It showed some maturity in this group.
“Beating the Bruins was an emotional win, and sometimes you can take a step back, but I challenged these guys not to. They rose to the challenge and really played well, still screwed up at times, but recovered, and that’s the sign of a good team when you can recover.”
While it may be early to be talking about Pac-12 titles, the two wins definitely put the Huskies in the driver’s seat as they battle for their first conference championship since 2005 — the same year the program won its lone NCAA title.
However, with 16 conference matches remaining — including an away match with fellow unbeaten Oregon and visit to the two L.A. schools on Oct. 26 and 28 — Husky players are nowhere near satisfied with their performance so far this season.
“We definitely need to improve each week — we can’t be happy with what we did this week,” middle blocker Amanda Gil said. “We have to keep going and improve our weaknesses.”
“It was only two matches — we still have a lot to improve on,” senior middle blocker Kelcey Dunaway said.
• It may have come on a broken play, but Phillip Klaphake’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Michael Walker lifted St. Cloud State to a 51-49 upset against No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth as time expired in the opening Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game for both Division II football teams.
Klaphake finished with a school-record 466 passing yards, 80 rushing yards and six touchdowns, including five TD passes to five different players. SCSU’s previous single-game passing mark was 377 yards. The two teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of total offense and 100 points — the highest scoring game in the series that has been in existence since 1933.
• The No. 3 UC Santa Barbara men’s soccer team remained unbeaten, defeating No. 24 UC Riverside 3-1 to open Big West Conference action on Friday. Redshirt freshman Charlie Miller notched a goal and an assist in his first career start for the Gauchos. The Gauchos improved to 7-0-3 as they avenged last season’s two losses to the Highlanders.
|Aug. 17||at Minnesota||W — 3-2|
|Aug. 19||at Marquette||Canceled|
|Aug. 24||at UCF||W — 1-0|
|Aug. 31||vs. Florida||W — 1-0|
|Sept. 2||vs. Charleston||W — 4-0|
|Sept. 7||vs. Cal State||W — 2-1|
|Sept. 9||at Arkansas||W — 1-0|
|Sept. 13||vs. Duke *||W — 1-0|
|Sept. 16||vs. Wake Forest *||W — 1-0|
|Sept. 21||vs. Jackson State||W — 5-0|
|Sept. 27||at N. Carolina *||W — 1-0|
|Sept. 30||at NC State *||W — 2-0|
|Oct. 4||vs. Clemson *||7 p.m. ET|
|Oct. 11||vs. Va. Tech *||8 p.m. ET|
|Oct. 14||vs. Virginia *||1 p.m. ET|
|Oct. 18||at Boston College *||7 p.m. ET|
|Oct. 21||at Maryland *||1 p.m. ET|
|Oct. 25||at Miami (Fla.) *||7 p.m. ET|
|* — ACC match|
• The top-ranked Florida State women’s soccer extended its school-record winning streak to 11 games, shutting out No. 13 North Carolina and NC State on the road in Atlantic Coast Conference play. The Seminoles, who have not given up a goal to conference foes this season, bettered their ACC mark to 4-0 with a 2-0 shutout of the Wolfpack on Sunday.
FSU also ran its consecutive shutout minutes streak to more than 618 minutes, and has not given up a goal since Sept. 7 against Cal State Fullerton. The Seminoles have allowed just three goals in 11 games.
• Division III football followers were on the edge of their seats as the No. 5 UW-Whitewater-No. 12 UW-Platteville contest came down to the wire on Saturday, but the three-time defending NCAA champion Warhawks narrowly survived 27-26 to win their 25th consecutive Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game.
With 13 seconds remaining, UW-Platteville’s Lee Vlasek plunged into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown, bringing the Pioneers within one point. The Pioneers lined up to attempt the 2-point conversion and go for the win, but the Warhawks called a timeout. After the timeout, the Pioneers lined up for an extra-point attempt, but UW-W used another timeout.
The decision changed again during the second timeout, and the Pioneers lined up to go for the 2-point conversion. Quarterback Bryce Corrigan’s pass was batted down by UW-W’s Ryan Wenkman, securing the victory for the Warhawks.
It was the second one-point game of the season for UW-Whitewater. The Warhawks lost their first one-point contest against Buffalo State 7-6 on Sept. 15.
• The NC State women’s volleyball team won its 10th consecutive match with a 3-1 victory against Clemson on Saturday, and improved to 15-1 (5-0 in the ACC). Third-year head coach Bryan Bunn also collected his 400th career victory against the Tigers.
The Wolfpack’s improvement during the past few years has been remarkable. Bunn’s squad is off to the second-best start in school history, only five years removed from a stretch in which the Wolfpack lost 127 of 128 matches between 2001-07.
• Minnesota-Duluth, the sixth-ranked team in Division II women’s volleyball, claimed a pair of victories against top-10 foes in NSIC action during the weekend. First, the Bulldogs upended No. 4 Concordia-St. Paul — the five-time defending NCAA champion — on Friday. It was the first time the Golden Bears have lost at Duluth since 2007. The Bulldogs followed up less than 24 hours later with a sweep of No. 10 Minnesota State on Saturday.
The Bulldogs are in a three-way tie for second place in the NSIC, while Winona State sits on top of the standings with a 7-0 mark in league action.
|THE DIGIT||THE 4-1-1|
|14||Lehigh extended its FCS-best regular season winning streak to 14 games as kicker Jake Peery nailed a 22-yard game-winning field goal in a 34-31 victory against Fordham. The Mountain Hawks also have won 15 consecutive Patriot League games.|
|29||Thomas More defensive back Zach Autenrieb tied the Division III career interception record at 29 with a pair of picks in his team’s 50-48 four-OT loss to Geneva on Saturday. He returned his second interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Autenrieb is now tied with Rochester University’s Ralph Gebhardt, who collected 29 picks in 1973-75.|
|32||Second-ranked Connecticut edged No. 8 Notre Dame 2-1 in men’s soccer on Saturday night, extending the Huskies’ home unbeaten streak to 32 games — the seventh longest stretch in NCAA history. UConn is 9-0-1 and has started the season undefeated through 10 games for the third time under head coach Ray Reid.|
|34||The top-ranked Syracuse field hockey team notched its fourth consecutive shutout, downing Yale 5-0 on Sunday as the Orange stretched its home winning streak to 34 games. Syracuse is 11-0 on the season.|
|321||Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein set the Southern Conference single-game rushing record with 321 yards on 27 carries in a 49-24 win at Elon on Saturday. It is only the third time in SoCon history a player has recorded 300 or more rushing yards. Breitenstein also scored two TDs, raising his season total to nine. He leads the nation in scoring (14.0 pgg) and rushing (233.33 ypg), while Wofford tops the FCS with 485.25 yards rushing per game.|
• No. 18 Stony Brook claimed its first victory against an FBS opponent, stifling Army 23-3 on Saturday. Miguel Maysonet rushed for a career-high 220 yards and two touchdowns. He currently ranks fourth in FCS with 160.0 rushing yards per game. The Black Knights entered the game as the nation’s leading rushing team, but were held to 273 yards on the ground by the Seawolves.
• Nova Southeastern‘s men’s soccer team knocked of top-ranked Lynn 1-0 on Saturday. Freshman Stefano Fanfoni netted the game-winning goal in the 56th minute of play; it was his first career goal. The Fighting Knights outshot the Sharks 17-9 but could not score for the first time this season. Lynn’s record fell to 9-1-0, 4-1-0 in the Sunshine State Conference.
• In Division III women’s soccer, No. 1 Trinity (Texas) picked up two Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference victories, outscoring Centenary and Austin by a combined 17-0 and improving to 8-0-1. Emily Horgens and Stephanie Segovia notched hat tricks for the Tigers against Centenary on Friday.
• The No. 6 NYU men’s soccer team is off to its best start in school history following a 3-1 win against Case Western Reserve in University Athletic Association action on Saturday. The No. 6 Violets are 9-0 and own their highest national ranking since 2007.
• Otterbein’s football program is off to a 4-0 start for only the fifth time since 1950 after upsetting No. 15 Baldwin Wallace 38-17 on Saturday. Quarterback Aaron Kingcade was responsible for five touchdowns in the Division III contest.
Follow Amy Farnum on Twitter: @NCAA_Amy