- No. 7 Washington def. No. 8 UCLA 3-1, (25-11, 22-25, 25-22, 25-15)
- Washington improves to 25-4, 15-4 Pac-12, UCLA falls to 23-6, 14-5 Pac-12
- Hosted by Washington
Courtesy of Washington Athletics
SEATTLE – For the third time in the past four years, Washington Volleyball is the Pac-12 Champion. The seventh-ranked Huskies won what was essentially a title match with eighth-ranked UCLA, as the teams came in tied for first with 14-4 records and two matches remaining. In a dramatic roller coaster fitting of the stakes, the Huskies pulled out the win, 25-11, 22-25, 25-22, 25-15 in front of 3,474 fans at Alaska Airlines Arena. Courtney Schwan‘s career-high 27 kills helped lift the Huskies to a share of their fifth conference title all-time.
Washington (25-4, 15-4) has clinched a share of the title, and will look to win the title outright this Saturday with a road match at Washington State that starts at 2 p.m. in Pullman. UCLA and Stanford are now tied for second with 14-5 conference records, and can still earn shares of the title it they win their finales and the Huskies don’t slam the door.
The Huskies won the Pac-12 outright in 2013 and were co-champions in 2015 with USC. They also won back-to-back Pac-10 titles in 2004 and 2005. The title is the second for Head Coach Keegan Cook in his two year tenure. On the eve of Thanksgiving, Cook had plenty to be thankful for.
“So many people within this program (contributed to this),” said Cook. “It takes a lot of people to accomplish anything of significance, and on days like this it’s easy to feel grateful for all those people.”
After the Huskies dominated the first set, they held an eight point cushion in set two, and were still up six at 22-16, but the Bruins suddenly quieted the crowd with a 9-0 run to steal the set and even the match at a set apiece. In set three, it was the Huskies fighting back from a deficit, and winning the final four points to pull out the frame and retake the lead. Set four was locked up tight as well, until a late Husky surge that gathered momentum behind Schwan’s dazzling array of shots. From 13-all, the Huskies won 12 of the final 14 points to close out the victory.
“I didn’t notice she was doing that,” Cook said of Schwan’s career night. “It doesn’t always work out that when you put in the work you get the return, but I think this team and Courtney has put in a heck of a lot of work to have this opportunity, so I’m happy for her. She showed great range. She knew when to strike the ball hard and when to hit an offspeed shot. She had a nice deep toolbox and it was really on display in that fourth set to put us over the top.”
Schwan’s previous career-high for kills was 21. She blew past that and hit .440 for the night for good measure. Bailey Tanner passed out 51 assists and helped the Dawgs hit .310 as a team, compared to .125 overall for the Bruins. Freshman Avie Niece came up big with six kills, hitting .67, and added a team-high seven blocks. Tia Scambray contributed 13 kills and 10 digs, and Crissy Jones had 11 kills and 19 digs, double-doubles for both juniors.
“I thought Shayne (McPherson) was steady, she’s had to battle her way (this season) but she was steady. No team hits .300 against UCLA without an outstanding setter, so I think Bailey Tanner did an outstanding job and showed just how good she is running an offense. Avie Niece had a wonderful night, both defensively and offensively, but I could go on and on. There’s twenty people in this program that had a great night.”
Crissy Jones started the match off with a kill on UW’s first swing for a 1-0 lead. UCLA overpassed a Scambray serve and Schwan smacked it down for 3-1. A Bruins error was followed by a Kara Bajema kill through the block for 5-1 to cap a four-point run. Schwan delivered a couple more kills at the left to keep UW up 7-3. Jones had a transition kill and then Tanner floated an ace to make it 9-3 and force a UCLA timeout. UW kept the run going with its first rejection out of the timeout, as Schwan posted the stuff on the left pin. Schwan finished another transition kill and then Jones had an emphatic rejection on the right for 12-3 before the Bruins scored to snap the 6-0 Husky run. Jones collected her third kill for a 15-6 lead after UCLA used its last timeout. A one-fisted dig from Jones let Tanner set Scambray for a big swing and a kill for 18-7. The Huskies had an overpass on serve-receive and UCLA went up to hit it, but Tanner also went up and had a solo rejection back down on the Bruins’ side for 21-9. Jones finished another Tanner set for 23-10 Dawgs. A clean Scambray kill straight to the floor got UW to set point at 24-11. A UCLA error capped things off for the Dawgs, 25-11. Washington hit a scorching .600 in the set and the Bruins were held to .000. Schwan hammered for seven kills without an error on 10 swings to hit .700.
The Dawgs got out to a quick 4-1 lead to start the second set as Scambray earned a kill from the left and another out of the back row and UW’s serving kept UCLA out of system. A roll shot from Schwan fell for a 6-2 lead. Avie Niece ended a back-and-forth with a smash to the back line for a 7-2 edge and UCLA took time. Washington’s defense received a roar as three Dawgs all laid out to keep a point alive and the Bruins then hit wide for 10-4. Jones capped the 3-0 Husky run with a transition finish to make it 12-4 Dawgs. Bajema got up to block down a Bruins swing to make it 14-6. UCLA scored a couple points to cut the lead to six and the Huskies took timeout to try and stop a run early. However the Dawgs hit out of bounds twice on the next two points and then UCLA tipped for a kill for 14-11 before missing serve to snap the 5-0 Bruins run. UCLA got within two at 15-13 but then Tanner dumped for a kill. Tanner flipped one behind her head for another kill and then Niece got a big stuff block to push back ahead, 18-15. The Bruins overpassed and Niece went up and put it away for 19-15 and UCLA took its last timeout with the Dawgs on a 3-0 run. Out of the break, Tanner stepped back and smacked an ace into the seam straight to the court. Niece and Scambray then blocked down a Bruins swing on the left pin for 22-16. A couple of Bruin points back made it 22-18 and the Huskies used their last timeout. But now it was the Huskies struggling to pass and forced into out of system tip attempts that the Bruins dug and a surging Bruins team got even and then pulled ahead of the Dawgs. Washington could not get a sideout when it needed it, and UCLA kept the run going all the way to the set win, 22-25, winning the final nine points in a row. Washington’s late errors dropped them down to .132 hitting for the set, with UCLA at .200
The Bruins scored the first point of the third but then Scambray and Schwan connected on two straight kills for 2-1. Bajema had a big stuff for a 3-1 lead, but then the Bruins got another run going with an ace and a block and a transition kill for a sixth consecutive point to make it 3-7 and the Huskies had to take time. UCLA had another block out of the break before Scambray got a kill on a block touch to snap the 7-0 Bruins run. The Huskies forced two UCLA errors in a row to pull back to 6-8. Schwan ended a long rally with a kill off the block to get UW back within one at 8-9. A Bruins swing into the antenna tied things up at 10-10. Jones then put the Dawgs back up, 11-10, with a rigthtside rejection. UCLA got a block and an ace to retake the lead, with Scambray getting a big kill to pull UW back within a point and a UCLA error tied it again at 14-14. Jones rocketed one from the right for 15-all, and then Scambray had a kill on a UCLA net error for a 16-15 Husky lead. Schwan won a joust at the net to move UW back up again, 18-17, as the teams went back and forth. UCLA retook a lead, 18-19, but Schwan tied it with an offspeed kill. Schwan tied it again at 20-all and Bajema put one down to even it at 22-all. Jones served and the Bruins shanked the pass and had to send over a free ball, which Tanner set to Scambray who hammered it down to put the Dawgs back on top, 23-22. UCLA then hit wide on its next attempt and the Dawgs had set point, 24-22, and UCLA took timeout. On UW’s first set point chance, the Bruins hit one long, and this set it was the Dawgs closing on the 4-0 run to take it, 25-22, and take the 2-1 lead. The defenses were strong in the third, as UW hit just .191 but held UCLA to .064. Schwan had seven more kills in the set and Scambray had five.
Bajema smashed down a slide set from Tanner for 2-1 to start set four. Bajema then had a solo rejection in the middle for 3-3. Schwan then tooled the block twice in a row on the left for 5-3 before a Bruins kill broke the three point run. The Bruins got two more to get back on top, but Jones tied it up with a kill and then Schwan aced the Bruins to make it 8-7 Dawgs. UCLA took a 10-12 lead but Tanner dumped for a big kill and then she roofed a Bruins swing to tie things back up at 12-all. McPherson had a big dig and Schwan found the corner in transition to get the Huskies the 13-12 lead. A roll shot from Schwan went down and then Tanner hit Niece in transition for a big blast to give the Huskies the 15-13 lead at the media timeout. The Dawgs got a touch call to go their way for Schwan out of the timeout, and she added another offspeed shot to the floor on the next rally to extend the lead. Schwan got a third straight to fall on a sharp angle crosscourt to make it 18-13 Dawgs and UCLA took its first timeout as UW was on a 5-0 run. Schwan kept her hot streak going with another roll shot kill out of the break, and then Tanner found Niece on a transition swing for another kill for 20-13 and the Bruins quickly called their last timeout. Finally Bajema missed her next serve to snap the 7-0 Husky run, but UCLA missed serve right back. Schwan hammered off the block after a Jones dig to score again for 22-14. Schwan hit again for 23-15 as the Dawgs were sniffing the finish. Jones and Niece combined for a stuff to bring the Huskies to the brink, and then Scambray put it away on UW’s first chance, lasering a strike to the center of the court for the 25-15 win, as the Huskies has closed the match on a 12-2 run. Schwan torched the Bruins for 10 more kills in the fourth set hitting .500 in the frame, as UW got its offense rolling once again, hitting .469 as a team compared to .200 for UCLA.
Courtesy of UCLA Athletics
SEATTLE, Wash. – Freshman Torrey Van Winden led the Bruins with 11 kills to go with eight digs, while junior Reily Buechler added 14 digs and eight kills, but #8 UCLA dropped a four-set decision to #7 Washington on Wednesday at Alaska Airlines Arena. Set scores were 11-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-25.
Senior Claire Felix was error-free with seven kills in 15 attempts for a .467 hitting percentage, senior Jordan Anderson added nine kills and six digs, senior Taylor Formico recorded eight digs and senior Jennie Frager had five kills. The Bruins (23-6, 14-5 Pac-12) hit .125. Senior Ryann Chandler had 19 assists and seven digs, while freshman Kylie Miller posted 18 assists and five digs.
The Bruins were routed in the opening set, dropping five of the first six points. UCLA was unable to score on its own serve, losing the opener 25-11. Buechler and Van Winden each had two kills, while Formico added three digs, as the Bruins were out-hit .600 to .000.
Set two appeared like it was going to go Washington’s way, but the Bruins staged a late comeback to even things heading into intermission. The Huskies (25-4, 15-4 Pac-12) raced out to an eight-point lead at 14-6 before the Bruins scored five straight and nine of 11 to cut their deficit to one. Buechler had two kills during the run, Anderson, Frager and sophomore Kyra Rogers posted one each and Washington committed four errors to make it 16-15. The Huskies came back with four straight and six of seven to extend their lead to six at 22-16, but the Bruins ended the set with nine in a row to steal the second 25-22. The first five points came on two kills each by Van Winden and Anderson and a UW attack error. A Felix/Van Winden block evened things at 22 and a Buechler kill gave the Bruins their first lead of the match at 23-22. Following a Husky attack error, an Anderson kill closed out the three-point win for the Bruins. Anderson paced the Bruins with five kills, Van Winden added four and Buechler recorded three kills and six digs, as UCLA out-hit Washington .200 to .132.
In the third set, it was the Bruins who had an early lead, scoring eight of the first 11. After falling behind 3-1, UCLA scored seven straight on a Van Winden kill and ace, kills by Buechler and Anderson, combo blocks from Buechler and Frager and Anderson and Frager and a UW hitting error. Washington battled back to re-take the lead at 11-10, but the Bruins scored four of five on kills by Felix and Anderson, a Rogers/Felix block and a Buechler ace to go up 14-12. Washington re-gained the lead at 16-15, but another 4-2 Bruin run on kills by Van Winden and Rogers and two UW errors made it 19-18 UCLA. The Bruins led as late as 22-21, but the Huskies recorded the final four points to win the third 25-22. Van Winden led the Bruins with four kills, Felix had three, while Buechler added seven digs, as the Bruins were out-hit .191 to .064.
UCLA’s largest lead of set four was a pair, but Washington came on late to clinch a share of the Pac-12 title. Trailing 8-7, the Bruins scored five of seven to go ahead 12-10. Felix, Van Winden, Frager and Buechler each had kills, while UW committed an error. But it was all Washington after that, as the home squad scored 15 of the last 18 points to win the fourth 25-15. Frager had four kills, while Felix added three, as the Bruins were out-hit .469 to .200.
The Bruins close out the regular season on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion when they host USC at 5 p.m. Prior to the match, UCLA will honor its senior class of six. The Bruins still have a chance to clinch a share of the Pac-12 title with a win over USC and a Washington loss on Saturday afternoon at Washington State.