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Stellar Hoffman helps VB snap skid

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Huskies snap their 5-game losing streak with a sweep of the Arizona schools. Back into the top 25 after a week out, a tougher test awaits this weekend, starting Thursday at #13 USC.

Claire Hoffman (bottom middle, in white) lands after a swing against Arizona.
Edward Strong

Husky volleyball got back on track with a home sweep of the Arizona schools last weekend. Freshman OH Claire Hoffman had a career day by an order of magnitude to will Washington to a 3-1 win over #21 Arizona.

Hoffman hadn’t played at all this season until surprisingly starting vs UCLA on Oct. 19. She had struggled through her first four matches, hitting under .100 with a total of 29 kills. The frosh was sparkling against the Wildcats with 21 kills on .463 hitting, carrying the Huskies to a second-set win nearly singlehandedly.

To say those wins were desperately needed is an understatement. Having lost five in a row since a win at Cal on Oct. 12, UW had fallen out of the AVCA top 25 for the first time in over 15 years (preseason poll in 2003). The pair of victories combined with losses by #24 Louisville and #25 Northern Iowa helped the Huskies make their absence short-lived by sneaking back in at #25.

Pac-12 Standings, with current AVCA rankings

  1. #2 Stanford (22-1, 14-0 Pac-12)
  2. #13 USC (18-7, 10-4)
  3. #17 Oregon (16-8, 9-5)
  4. #19 Washington State (18-6, 9-5)
  5. #20 Arizona (18-8, 7-7)
  6. #21 UCLA (12-9, 7-7)
  7. #25 Washington (15-9, 7-7)
  8. (RV) Colorado (14-11, 6-8)
  9. Utah (13-12, 5-9)
  10. California (13-12, 5-9)
  11. Arizona State (13-13, 4-10)
  12. Oregon State (11-16, 1-13)

Up Next

The Dawgs play their final out-of-state road games this weekend, visiting the LA schools for their last true road trip.

The Women of Troy appear to have emerged as the leader of the chase pack (of which nobody has any realistic shot of catching Stanford). USC OHs Khalia Lanier and Brooke Botkin are probably the best 1-2 punch on the outside in the conference, and libero Victoria Garrick is in the top echelon of defenders. However, freshman setter Raquel Lázaro is talented but wildly inconsistent, and the block for USC isn’t as good as it’s been in some recent years. For UW to have any chance at keeping a remarkable streak going—six years in a row of at least tying for second in the loaded Pac-12—beating the Women of Troy is an absolute necessity.

Speaking of streaks, UCLA’s win in Seattle a few weeks ago broke a pair of long ones. Washington had won the last nine head-to-head meetings, and the Bruins hadn’t won in Seattle since 2003. OH Mac May went off in the teams’ first meeting, but, like Washington, UCLA’s offense has gone through unexpectedly deep ruts at times. Expect to see UW try to keep a double block in front of May all night, forcing one of UCLA’s other offensive weapons to make plays.

Schedule

Thu, 8 PM: #25 Washington at #13 USC (Pac-12 WA only)

Sat, 7 PM: #25 Washington at #22 UCLA (Pac-12 WA/LA)