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#15 Husky VB embarks on tougher-than-expected Arizona trip

The weakest travel partners in the conference during the past couple of years, #21 Arizona and nearly-ranked Arizona State look to be a tougher test this year.

Edward Strong

15th-ranked Washington is off to a 3-1 start in conference play through the first 2 weeks, falling to Utah in 4 sets last Sunday for the first conference defeat. UW blew a 2-0 lead against WSU in their Pac-12 opener before winning the 5th set, then rallied from an 0-2 hole to win at Oregon State. UW split at home against the Mountain schools last weekend, knocking off Colorado 3-1 before the Utah loss.

Standings, with current AVCA rankings (records through Thu, 10/4)

  1. #2 Stanford (12-1, 4-0 Pac-12)
  2. #12 USC (12-4, 4-1)
  3. #15 Washington (11-3, 3-1)
  4. #21 Arizona (14-2, 3-1)
  5. (RV) Arizona State (12-4, 3-1)
  6. #17 UCLA (7-4, 2-2)
  7. #20 Oregon (9-5, 2-2)
  8. #22 Washington State (11-3, 2-2)
  9. #24 Utah (9-6, 1-3)
  10. (RV) Colorado (9-6, 1-3)
  11. California (8-7, 0-4)
  12. Oregon State (10-7, 0-5)

Pac-12 Notes

Stanford was the consensus Pac-12 favorite coming into the year, and has done nothing to change that so far. The Cardinal impressively swept both LA schools last weekend without breaking much of a sweat...After a strong opening to their season, the Ducks struggled mightily last weekend, losing twice at home to the Arizona schools, including a stunning sweep at the hands of Arizona State...Utah was looking at a high chance of an 0-5 start in conference play (next game: vs Stanford), but pulled the upset at Washington to avoid that scenario...Despite the 0-4 start, Cal has looked better than expected — forced UCLA to 5 sets, then fell 3-1 in a hard-fought match against USC...The same can’t be said for Oregon State, which has lost 12 straight sets since holding a 2-0 lead against the Huskies on opening weekend.

If you’re interested in hearing more about #Pac12VB, I sat in on the most recent VolleyMob podcast, talking about UW, the Pac-12, and a few national picks.

Upcoming Schedule

Coming into the year, weeks 3 and 4 looked to be a good opportunity to pick up some conference road wins for UW. A trip to Stanford next week is obviously tough, but the other 3 matches in that stretch were against the projected bottom third of the conference: Arizona, Arizona State, and Cal. Cal has looked slightly better than expected, but still should not be an issue. But the Arizona trip looks to be significantly more tricky than anticipated. After going winless in conference last year, head coach and former Husky star Sanja Tomasevic has the Devils fully competitive in just her second year in Tempe. Meanwhile, the 21st-ranked Wildcats will look to end a long drought against the Huskies, as UW has won the last 13 meetings between the schools, including sweeping a Sweet 16 matchup in 2016.