Washington 3, Tennessee 0Dec. 15, 2005

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Washington advanced to the NCAA women's volleyball championship match by sweeping Tennessee in three games Thursday behind Christal Morrison and Brie Hagerty.

Morrison, the MVP of the College Station regional, led the Huskies with 18 kills in their 30-25, 30-19, 30-21 victory. Brie Hagerty had 16 kills and Sanja Tomasevic added 12.

The third-seeded Huskies have swept each of their five opponents in the tournament and 27 of 31 this season.

Washington (31-1) will play the winner of the Nebraska-Santa Clara match played later Thursday at the Alamodome. Nebraska (32-1) is the top seed while Santa Clara (27-4) is unseeded.

Washington led the nation this year in hitting percentage, and they won Game 2 with a match-high .405 percentage.

The Lady Vols (25-9), playing in the volleyball final four for the first time, were led by Kristen Andre's 21 kills.

But no other Tennessee player was in double figures as the Lady Vols finished with a .243 hitting percentage compared to Washington's .338 clip.

Match Facts
MATCH TIME: total 1 hour, 31 minutes; 1st game 0:26; 2nd game 0:24; 3rd game 0:25
GAME 1: 10 ties, 2 lead changes; UW largest lead 6 (27-21); UT largest lead 2 (8-6)
GAME 2: 1 tie, 1 lead change; UW largest lead 11 (3x, last 30-19); UT largest lead 2 (2-0)
GAME 3: 0 ties, 0 lead changes; UW largest lead 9 (3x, last 30-21); UT largest lead n/a

Jim McLaughlin, Head Coach

On the match last year with Stanford and what went wrong
That was a long time ago. I dont know. We didnt play as well as we were capable of playing. Stanford played awfully well. I dont remember specifically, tactically or mechanically what was going on. We lost a match and it was a good match. They played well and we played okay, but not good enough to win the match.

If theyve made any changes&.

No. We know what we need to do and were going to do it day-to-day. They know the routine, they know the approach. I know were a better team. We worked hard in the off-season and we addressed the areas of our game we needed to address and weve improved. I think were a more complete team. We just have to go out and get better and thats all weve preached from day one.

On the loss to UCLA
Ive been asked that question a lot Could that help you? and then the next question was Was the timing right? We played extremely well 24 hours before against the Trojans and we just played a real nice, complete match start to finish. But were a little different, its human nature to let up a little bit and we started slow. I told the team I didnt like the way we came into the thing, but I sure liked the way we finished. As you know, the margin of error is so thin. Anything can happen in that fifth game and it was basically two plays. After seeing how weve responded to this thing, practices were a little better. I still think we have tremendous confidence, but we also understood if we dont take care of all the little things, just little things, we could get beat. I just saw an attention to greater detail and thats a great thing.

On being on the road for the past two weeks
I dont know if its an advantage or disadvantage. I like where were at. I like where were at emotionally. I like where were at physically. I do know this, if we had flown back from College Station, you know Im not playing and Im worn out from getting on the plane and getting back off the plane. Im glad we stayed here. Its hard being a Division I athlete. We understand the demands and were going to control what we can control and right now, after todays practice, I really like where were at and what were doing. I like our approach and I like the look. I look at these guys everyday. I study them. I watch them. I pay attention and theyre doing good things. Theyre doing the right things the right way.

On preparing for Tennessee
With the limited time, the team they know the routines. There is a time when were going to address the opponent, but weve got to first address and put an emphasis where we need to put it to correct the little things we need to correct. Youve got to couple both of those things. You cant get so engrossed in the opponent that youre missing some things you need to take care of.

Christal Morrison, SO, Outside Hitter

On being on the road for the past two weeks
Initially with the traveling for us, we were bummed. We wanted to play at home for our crowd and the seniors, but we knew what we had to do. The first weekend on the road we had a mission and we came out with both those wins and then coming down to Texas. I think its good being in Texas, as long as were getting prepared and focused everyday. Its no different than being at home in training or here in training. A gym is a gym. The court is the same size.

Courtney Thompson, JR, Setter

On preparation for Tennessee
Early in the week we keep it the same and really focus on what were doing. Well start watching film on them tonight. Weve talked about a few things on the court, but Monday and Tuesday its focus on us.

Sanja Tomasevic, SR, Outside Hitter

On the attendance at the College Station Regional
We definitely had our crowd cheering us on. We had 30 or 40 people coming down to cheer us on. Its always good to see purple in the stands. We were bummed we didnt get to play at home, but we came on a mission. Last year we got to stay at home through the Fabulous Four and this year we didnt. They cant make all of us happy, so we decided we were on a mission and were going to make sure to do everything it takes to get there. I dont think the attendance influenced us in any way.

On last years experience and if it helps the team this year
Last year we came here, I think everyone looked at it as any other game and when we got to the Final Tournament we realized its not the same thing. It was different. There were a lot of different things around and a lot of people around all the time. I think last year we learned a big lesson and I definitely know its not happening this year because the team is not acting that way.

Team Notes
Washington improved to 1-0 all time against Tennessee.
Washington improved to 30-0 when winning the first game.
Washington improved to 19-9 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
With the 3-0 victory, 27 of Washingtons 31 victories have come via a sweep.
Washington has not lost a game in the 2005 NCAA tournament (15-0).
Washington has won 24 straight games dating back to Nov. 12, a string of eight straight sweeps.
Washington has won eight straight matches entering Saturdays championship match.
Washington improved to 13-1 in 2005 against ranked opponents.
Washington improved to 14-7 all time against Southeastern Conference opponents.
Washington improved to 1-1 all time in national semifinal matches. The Huskies fell to Stanford in a semifinal match last season in the schools only other appearance.
With the victory, Washington (31-1) has posted the second most wins in school history. The 1978 team holds the school record with 37 victories.
Washington will try to become the fifth straight Pac-10 team to win the national championship. Stanford won the title in 2001 and 2004 while USC took the crown in 2002 and 2003. The Pac-10 has won 12 of the previous 24 championships.

Individual Notes
Sophomore outside hitter Christal Morrison posted double-figure kills (18) for the 25th time this season.
Senior outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic posted double-figure kills (12) for a team-best 26th time in 2005.
Tomasevic (12 kills) increased her career school-record total to 1,783.
Senior outside hitter Brie Hagerty posted double-figure kills (16) for the 24th time this season.
Junior setter Courtney Thompson posted 54 assists on the night, increasing her career school-record total to 4,800.
With 16 digs, senior libero Candace Lee (2,028 career) needs 38 digs to break the Pac-10s all-time record (2,065, Chrissie Zartman, UCLA).

Head coach Rob Patrick
General Comments
First off, Id like to congratulate Washington on playing a great match. They didnt do anything that we didnt think they would do. They put a lot of pressure on us to try to get to the net. We had a game plan, it was the best game plan for the match. I thought the players carried it out pretty well, but Washington put a little pressure on us with their serve. We didnt handle it well, I thought we should. We did not dig the ball or control the first ball over as well as we needed to, to be successful in this match. I felt our team played very hard and never gave up.
Im very proud of these young ladies for how they represented the University of Tennessee this year, and for their careers and as individuals and how they carried themselves through their careers. Theyre hard workers, play with a lot of heart, and Im sorry that this season is over.

Game plan to Washington
I thought we could side-out against Washington. When we were able to pass the ball, I thought we did a real nice job of attacking their right side of their defense. The passing had gone down at the end of the match, it wasnt as efficient, so we werent able to keep the splits in the blocks as we were earlier in the match.

What did Washington do that you found tough to defend
We knew where they were going to hit the ball, and we normally dont have a defense in the manner that defends that type of hit they hit. They hit a very deep ball to the corner, and we dont normally defend that, we usually defend that with our blocks. They do a great job of hitting around or right past the middle blockers hands, and we had devised a defense to get our middle back over in that area and to play our left back a little deeper than the line. We didnt carry that out as consistently as we needed to. We did it for parts of the match, but when you are trying to make adjustments for one match, that big, it is completely different positioning for a defense. It was one of those things where we are in a middle of a play and the ball goes out and we are supposed to be in a certain area thats brand new, we are not as crisp as we need to be. We just didnt carry that out. Thats what happened.

What did you see that Washington that didnt allow you to have a good of match with Kelsey (Fautsch) or Yuliya (Stoyanova) as you would have liked?
I think a big part of our offense has been incorporating our middles a lot, and we have been really effective on the sides. I wasnt thinking it wasnt so much that Yuliya and Kelsey didnt have as good of a match, we tried to concentrate on hitting the ball to the middle a lot more.

Importance of first game setting tone for the match
Amy Morris, L/OH, Sr
I think that for our team the first game is always pretty mental. Washington is coming in 30-1, and playing against a team like that, its just like when we played against Penn State, I think winning that first game for us was more mental. Once we get the first game we get a lot of our confidence, and release all of the fear we have playing.
I think if we would have won that first game, it could have been a different match.

Washington just seemed to have so many options and others getting a lot of hits
We didnt serve as tight as we needed to. We needed to get them out of three hitter situations and we did not do a good job of that.
We started to do that at the end of the match, however our passing broke down, and when our passing broke down we had to hit the ball high outside and they were able to defend our outside hitters better than we were able to defend their outside hitters.

In both Regular and here in the championships, compare Washington to other teams that you have faced
Kristen Andre, MB, Sr.
They were the better team tonight and they have a lot of offensive weapons and they played well defensively. I would rank them as the best team we played.
Amy Morris
I think the main thing with Washington is that they played defensive. They put pressure on our net. They put pressure on you the whole game tonight.

Team Notes
Tennessee fell to 0-1 all time against Washington.
Tennessee fell to 5-4 against ranked opponents. The loss snapped a 5-match win streak for UT against ranked teams in 2005.
Tennessee fell to 4-3 versus top-10 teams.
Tennessee fell to 2-9 when losing game one.
Tennessee fell to 10-8 all time in NCAA tournament matches.
Tennessee made its first national semifinal appearance in school history against Washington. Previously, the Lady Vols best showing in the tournament was the round of 16, a feat accomplished four times (last in 2004).
Tennessee was just the fifth school from the Eastern time zone to advance to the national semifinals (Penn State, Ohio State, Florida, Michigan State).
Tennessee fell to 7-12 all time against Pac-10 opponents. Fridays match marked the Lady Vols first meeting with a Pac-10 school since 2003 (a 3-2 win over Arizona State) and just the fourth since the 2000 season.
Tennessee (25-9) was just the second team to make the national semifinals with eight or more losses since 1990 (Minnesota 03, 26-10), and the 13th team to do so in the events 25-year history.
Tennessees senior class finished their career with a record of 97-32 (.752), the best performance by a Lady Vol class in school history.

Individual Notes
Senior middle blocker Kristen Andre posted double-figure kills (21) for the ninth straight match and 24th time overall in 2005. It was her second 20+ kill performance of the year.
Andre led the Lady Vols in kills (21) for the ninth time this season.
Andre finished her career with 1,498 kills, ranking fifth all time on the UT career charts.
Senior libero Amy Morris posted double-figure digs (15) for the seventh straight match and 25th time overall in 2005.
Senior setter Julie Knytych finished her career with 5,803 assists, the most ever at Tennessee and the third most in Southeastern Conference history.
Senior middle blocker Heather Harrington is the only athlete in the national semifinals who hails from Texas. She attended Rayburn High School in Pasadena, just outside of Houston.