Washington beats Western Michigan
Three Huskies tallied double-digit kills, Vansant led with 25
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Washington weathered a feisty Western Michigan squad Friday in the first round of the NCAA Volleyball Championships, advancing to the second round with a 25-13, 20-25, 25-22, 25-16 victory. The Huskies (24-7) were led by 25 kills from Krista Vansant in her first NCAA tourney match.
"It's always good to get the first one," head coach Jim McLaughlin said. "Western Michigan played great defense, they don't make a lot of errors. They've got a good setter that can move the ball around and keep you on your toes. I like the way they play, they play fast and they dug us. But we kept our composure. I thought we played okay, but we have got to play better tomorrow night."
Vansant, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, matched her career-high for kills set just last match at WSU, giving her 50 kills in her last two matches. She hit .440 on the night, with 25 kills and just three errors on 50 attempts. All-Pac-12 first teamer Bianca Rowland put down 12 kills while hitting .550 and adding six block assists. Junior Kylin Muñoz had 10 kills, hitting .321, and sophomore Gabbi Parker also registered 10 kills on a .318 attack percentage.
Jenni Nogueras had 31 assists with 14 digs for a double-double, and Evan Sanders had 24 assists and eight digs, as the two ran UW's offense to a .362 percentage. Sophomore Jenna Orlandini posted 26 digs, and UW led the blocking battle, 8.0-1.0. The Huskies also had five service errors to none for the Broncos, out of the Mid-American Conference.
The teams were even through the first eight points of the match, until a couple Bronco errors and a kill by Muñoz made it 7-4 Huskies. UW maintained that three point edge as both teams sided out routinely, until Vansant put one down and WMU misfired to push the lead to 14-9. Rowland and Ross then scored the first block of the night to get to the media timeout at 15-10.
A Muñoz blast and another Broncos error extended things to 17-10, then after one WMU point, the Huskies pulled away with another 5-0 run to get to 22-11. Washington then closed it out on another 3-0 run with a couple Vansant put-aways.
WMU missed on set point and the Dawgs had it, 25-13. Washington hit .457 in the set and sided out at a phenomenal 92 percent, with Vansant rolling up nine kills on a .444 attack percentage. Western Michigan was held to .128 on offense.
The second set saw the Broncos come out with an early lead, but UW tied it up at seven with a block by Parker and Rowland and then a Vansant finish. But WMU took the next three points for a 10-7 lead, forcing a Husky timeout. The run hit five points for 12-7 before Parker snapped the run with a kill. Kills from Barfield and Muñoz cut it to 10-13, but the Broncos continued to side out efficiently.
They pushed the lead back to 18-13 and forced another Husky timeout. UW trimmed the lead to four points a couple times but could not sustain a run, and the Broncos took the set, 25-20. Western Michigan hit a very impressive .421 in the set, while UW was still efficient, but not efficient enough, at .300 in the set. Parker had five kills in the set to lead the Dawgs.
The teams stayed even through the first third of set number three. Muñoz put one away and then on the next point, Rowland and Ross stopped the Gossen attack for a 9-7 Husky edge.
The Dawgs broke off a four-point run to take a 13-8 lead, forcing a WMU timeout in the process. Vansant had another kill and Ross tossed in a short serve for an ace in the run. But the Broncos came right back with a 3-0 run to keep contact at 13-11. Vansant finished two in-a-row for a 15-11 margin.
The lead hit five again at 17-12 after a couple Bronco errors, and a block of Gillian Asque by Barfield and Ross had UW looking good at 19-13 with WMU taking another timeout. But again the Broncos responded with a three point burst out of the break and the Huskies called time.
They cut it to 19-17 before Ross had a critical left side kill. Two more Bronco kills cut it to 20-19 but WMU missed a key serve. Muñoz connected from the left for 22-20, and then WMU was called for a double touch on the next rally.
Vansant gave the Dawgs a trio of set points with another kill, and she converted the second one herself off a Nogueras set for the pivotal 25-22 win. Vansant recorded another six kills in the frame, with UW outhitting the Broncos, .250 to .216.
Washington rode the momentum of the third set win to a four-point run early in the fourth set to take a 6-2 lead and force a Broncos timeout. Ross and Orlandini both had early service aces, and Vansant had killed three of the four points in the run. But Western Michigan stabilized and worked back into it, using a 3-0 run to cut it to 11-10 and force UW's first timeout of the set.
Nogueras found Rowland on the serve receive out of the timeout, and then Rowland and Vansant blocked Jessica Brown. Rowland converted at the end of a tense rally to push the Dawgs back to a 15-10 lead on a four-point run. Rowland had the next two Husky kills, giving her five consecutive for UW, to make it 17-12.
Vansant then put one off the defense and out, and an ace by Evan Sanders made it 19-12 to force WMU's last timeout. WMU missed its next swing for 20-12, which capped a 9-2 UW run. The Broncos took the next two points, but could not corral Vansant, who answered with two in-a- row. Barfield tipped over the block and down for match point at 24-16, and Muñoz found room on the next rally to end it, 25-16.
Rowland was a perfect 6-for-6 in the final set, while Vansant was also error-free with seven kills on 13 attempts. The Dawgs rolled to a .459 attack percentage in the set, adding three aces, while WMU hit .250.