2017 NCAA TOURNAMENT – SEATTLE POD
ILLINOIS DEF. HAWAII 3-2 (25-18, 25-17, 13-25, 24-26, 15-10)
- Illinois improves to 22-10; Hawaii falls to 20-8
- Attendance: N/A
- Box Score
In a match where the Fighting Illini almost let a 2-0 set lead slip away, Illinois had just enough in the fifth set to take down Hawaii and move on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
It was all Illinois early, as the Big Ten side showed its big blocking advantage that would lead to a 15-4 team blocking edge. Megan Cooney (10 kills, .375) also took care of plenty of the offense. The combination of the two led to a 2-0 set edge with 25-18 and 25-17 game victories.
For whatever reason – maybe the intermission – Hawaii was able to flip the switch in the third. They exploded for a 25-13 set victory behind the prowess of Emily Maglio (18 kills), Natasha Burns (13 kills, .524) and company.
The fourth played as a bit of premonition to the next set, as a late Illinois run gave them a 23-22 run after they were down by as much as five in the set. That’s when McKenna Granato (15 kills, .289, 21 digs) took over though, as she had the final five kills in the set for Hawaii including the last two points of the set to win the game 26-24.
With the fourth going Hawaii’s way, the two sides started the fifth. Back-and-forth the score went to an 8-8 tie, but after Illinois kept the exchange of points at 9-8, it was disrupted by an Ali Bastianelli (nine kills, nine blocks) and Jacqueline Quade (15 kills, five blocks) block to gain a semblance of separation. Bastianelli took over with yet another block and a Hawaii attack error made it 12-8 Illinois. Three points later at 13-10, Bastianelli rocked down two consecutive kills to put an end to the set and the match at 15-10.
In total for the match, Illinois slightly outhit Hawaii .228 to .226 and had nine less serve errors while Hawaii had two more aces and won the battle of the digs (82-67). It all goes back to the blocks though, as Illinois’ biggest advantage in the match pushes them forward.
For Illinois, it’s a sweet victory after not making the NCAA Tournament last season but now they can do what the 2015 team did and move on to the Regional Semifinals with a win tomorrow.
#8 WASHINGTON DEF. LIU BROOKLYN 3-0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-18)
- #8 Washington improves to 25-7; LIU Brooklyn falls to 20-10
- Attendance: 2,814
- Box Score
The eight-seed in the tournament, Washington, made quick work of LIU Brooklyn with the a three-set sweep in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Everything seemed to be clicking for the Huskies in the match, as they hit an astounding .478 compared to .138 for LIU Brooklyn. The domination came across the board too as Washington had more aces (6-4), digs (44-29) and blocks (7-1).
Leading the charge for Washington was Kara Bajema (15 kills, .355, nine digs, two aces) and Courtney Schwan (10 kills, .556). After playing a lot of 6-2 over the course of the season with injuries, Bailey Tanner took over the lone setter role and posted 35 digs and six assists.
Defensively, Tia Scambray couldn’t find a plethora of digs with less opportunites – due to Washington’s success – but still totaled 13 digs to lead the Huskies. Most impressively though for Scambray was her serve as she kept LIU Brooklyn out of sorts with seemingly every ball, including a match-best four aces.
Washington now moves forward to the second round as they will play host once more – this time to Illinois. The match will be Washington’s second against a Big Ten foe, as they swept Maryland earlier in the year.