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Duck Hunt: Husky Volleyball Hosts Oregon - Preview/Game thread

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The 14th-ranked Husky volleyball team looks to build on a 14-3 start when they take on #15 Oregon Wednesday night.

Husky Volleyball’s Courtney Schwan (4, in white) watches as her teammate attempts to block an attack by a Santa Clara attacker during a match on Sept. 1, 2017. Washington won the match 3-0.
Ed Strong

On Wednesday night, the 14th-ranked Husky volleyball team will host #15 Oregon (11-4, 3-3 Pac-12) at Alaska Airlines Arena. Tune in at 7 PM on Pac-12 Network/Washington/Oregon.

On Friday at 7 PM, the Huskies will wrap up their 4-match homestand against Oregon State (11-7, 1-5). That match will not be televised, but a free live stream is available at pac-12.com/live/university-washington

The Huskies (14-3, 4-2) snapped a brief two-match losing streak on Sunday, defeating then-#25 Colorado in straight sets. The back-to-back losses suffered by the Huskies (Oct 1 at #21 USC & Oct 8 vs #17 Utah) were the first consecutive losses by the program since a 2014 trip to the Mountain schools that snapped a program-record 25-game winning streak at the time.

Last year, Oregon and Washington split the season series, with each time picking up a 3-0 sweep on the opponent's home floor, a trend that UW no doubt wants to end tonight.

Injury update

Recent injuries to the Husky starters have forced a series of lineup changes. Starting setter Bailey Tanner, who injured her hand on a block attempt in the loss at the Trojans (but ended up finishing the match) remains out this week but likely could return when the Huskies visit Stanford and Cal next week.

In her stead, the team has switched from a 5-1 (1 setter plays the role in all 6 rotations, regardless of front/back) to a 6-2 (2 setters, each of whom play only the 3 back rotations and swap out for an opposite hitter when their spot reaches the front line. Senior Jade Finau and freshman Natalie Robinson have served as the setters, with seniors Carly DeHoog and Crissy Jones at opposite. In turn, Jones' move to opposite has created a void at outside hitter, which has led to senior Tia Scambray return to her natural position rather than libero, which she had played most of this season. Sophomore Shayne McPherson, last season's libero who had seen decreasing playing time this season, returns to libero.

Players to watch

Lauren Sanders, Fr. MB #1, Washington

Sanders had a massive week against Utah and Colorado, hitting over .600 and racking up close to 20 blocks, winning her Pac-12 freshman of the week. Sanders was a touted recruit coming to UW, but her transition to D1 P5 conference play has been remarkable, as she has rarely seemed to make "freshman mistakes" and has carried the entire team at times.

Willow Johnson, So. RS (Opp) #4, Oregon

Very tall, lanky, lefty with a cannon arm and a last name of Johnson. Remind you anyone in Seattle sports history? It probably should. Willow is the daughter of MLB Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson. Not much subtlety to her game: she hits hard and is a major blocking force on the Ducks' right side.

Feel free to ask me questions about the game: strategy, rule confusion, injury stuff, or whatever else. I'll be on here occasionally, and I'll be tweeting regularly (twitter.com/DawgoneCrazy)

Go Dawgs.