SALT LAKE CITY -- Junior Kaleigh Nelson provided a big lift for the Husky offense, as Washington shook off its first loss of the season to knock off Utah in three sets at the Huntsman Center. Traveling from Colorado to Utah early Saturday morning, the road-weary Huskies fought hard for the 25-23, 25-15, 30-28 victory, led by Nelson’s 13 kills.
The No. 1-ranked Huskies are likely to lose the top billing which they earned last week after falling in four sets Friday night at Colorado. But more importantly, the Huskies made the adjustments necessary to earn another key road win, improving to 11-1 on the year and 3-1 in Pac-12 play.
“I think we played well in spurts,” head coach Jim McLaughlin said. “Game 2 was a complete game, start to finish. We had a rough start in Game 3, just missed easy plays, and that’s a concern. So I told the team it’s a good win, any win is good in the Pac-12, especially on the road and after [Friday] night. But we’ve got to get back to Seattle and fix some stuff and really get to work on a higher level.”
The Huskies won despite being outhit in the first and third sets, but overall for the match the Dawgs led in attack percentage .255 to .174. Washington had 44 kills to 41 for Utah, and six service aces helped the cause compared to two for the Utes. Nelson hit .385 for the night and during the past two sets she had 10 kills and no errors on 15 swings for a .667 mark. Krista Vansant added 10 kills and sophomore Melanie Wade had five kills on 10 swings without a miss and sophomore Cassie Strickland had a team-best 14 digs plus five kills.