No. 10 Washington blanks Arizona
Parker records career-high 11 kills to power Huskies to victory
SEATTLE -- Sophomore Gabbi Parker broke out as an offensive force with a career-high 11 kills, leading 10th-ranked Washington to a 3-0 victory against Arizona on Sunday night at Alaska Airlines Arena. Meanwhile, Washington's NCAA-leading blockers continued to pester their opponents, as they tallied 14.5 blocks to just 3.0 for the Wildcats in a 25-15, 25-21, 25-22 win.
Washington improves to 18-4 on the year and 10-4 in Pac-12 play and completed a season sweep of Arizona (14-9, 6-8 Pac-12). The Huskies hit .198 for the night but held the Wildcats to .090 on offense. Parker was extremely efficient, getting her 11 kills on just 21 swings with one error for a .476 attack percentage. Senior Bianca Rowland had eight blocks and five kills, and junior Kylin Muñoz had a nice afternoon with seven kills while hitting .261. Sophomore libero Jenna Orlandini had an impressive 20 digs to anchor the defense.
"This was (Gabbi's) best day as a Dawg but it can get better and better and it will. She's not afraid to get after it and I love that trait about her more than anything," Washington coach Jim McLaughlin said.
There was greater consistency today from the Huskies compared to Friday's five-set win against Arizona State, but McLaughlin sees room for much more.
"We continue to play well when our backs are against the wall," he said. "It's in us. But what can we do to make the little plays and not get our backs against the wall? That's the deal. It's an energy thing and an emotion thing from start to finish."
The NCAA leaders in blocking, the Huskies began the match with a stuff by Barfield and Vansant against Madison Kingdon. Parker had UW's first two kills for a 3-1 lead. A triple block from Parker, Rowland, and Vansant pushed the Dawgs out to an 8-5 edge, but UA would take three of the next four to tie it up at 9-9. Vansant served up an ace for an 11-9 Husky lead. Consecutive finishes from Muñoz and Rowland stretched the lead to 14-11, and then a finish from Vansant prompted an Arizona timeout.
A Wildcat miss and two more kills from Vansant and Rowland made it 19-12. Washington continued to roll along to set point at 24-15, and the set ended the way it began, as Barfield and Parker stuffed Torres on the left side for the 25-15 victory. Washington hit .278 for the first set and out-dug the Wildcats, 22-18. Vansant led the way with four kills, and Parker, Rowland, and Barfield combined for eight kills and no errors.
In the second set, Arizona got off to a quick start as the Huskies passing game momentarily faltered and the Wildcats took an early 4-1 lead. Rowland then began to obstruct the Wildcats, as she posted two solo blocks in a span of just three points, cutting the gap to 8-6. Arizona though went on a 3-0 run to take an 11-6 lead and force a Husky timeout. Parker broke the run with a kill off the block, then Arizona hit wide trying to avoid UW's powerful block, and a Parker swing from the right side cut the lead to 11-9.
Arizona got back out to a 14-10 lead, but a Barfield kill in the middle sparked an 8-0 Washington run as they took over the set. Rowland and Muñoz traded a couple kills, with Rowland's spike giving UW its first lead of the set at 15-14. She then teamed with Ross for a rejection on Karst, and after one more Muñoz kill, Rowland and Ross stuffed Karst for a second time, taking UW to an 18-14 advantage. Vansant added a pair of kills down the stretch, and a Parker swing took the Huskies to set point at 24-19. Arizona saved a couple of set points before Summer Ross hugged the sideline for a kill and the set 25-21. Rowland's six blocks in the set led the Dawgs and Parker added five more kills.
Washington looked like it was going to run away with the third set, but Arizona wouldn't go down without a fight. The Huskies raced out to a 6-0 lead with three block assists from Barfield and Ross, an ace from Vansant and a Parker kill. But Arizona clawed right back with a 4-0 run, as UW struggled to finish points, and Karst had three consecutive kills to force a Husky timeout. Muñoz had a solo rejection of Karst to push the UW advantage back to 9-5. After an Arizona misfire, the Huskies were back out to a five point lead at 11-6, and they would match that a few more times as UA missed three more serves in a short span.
Leading 15-10, Washington let up a bit, and three consecutive Wildcat points forced another UW timeout. Muñoz found room to break the streak, and two more kills from the junior made it 19-16 Dawgs. Again Arizona rallied, posting three points in a row to tie things up for the first time at 19-all. Rowland and Vansant teamed for a block to take the lead, but another 3-0 Wildcats run put them in front for the first time at 22-20. Parker got credit for a kill after Arizona's blockers were in the net, then UA's Arizobal missed wide up the line to bring the teams even at 22-22. Vansant sent one off the block and out to put UW back up 23-22, and then Evan Sanders picked the perfect time to serve up an ace to set up match point. After a short rally, Arizona's Kingdon hit wide around the antenna and the Huskies celebrated the 25-22 win. Washington hit just. 073 in the third set but had five blocks and two aces to help the cause.