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Husky VB splits Pac-12/B1G Challenge

The 11th-ranked Illini are now directly responsible for the last two losses by the Huskies.

Libero Shayne McPherson (2) prepares before a teammate serves during UW's 3-1 loss to Illinois.
Edward Strong

13th-ranked Washington (3-1) split their final two non-conference home games at the Pac-12/B1G Challenge last weekend. UW overcame a strong blocking effort from Iowa (2-3), but could not do the same against #11 Illinois (5-0).

  • #13 Washington 3, Iowa 1 (21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-16)
  • #11 Illinois 3, #13 Washington 1 (25-18, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22)

UW notes

One very significant development in Saturday's match: redahirt sophomore Maria Bogomolova made her first career appearance, coming in as a serving specialist with very good results (one ace and forcing multiple bad passes). Her serve is a fairly standard standing serve (not a power jump serve, not a knuckleball, etc.), but it clearly gave an experienced Illini team fits, as it helped turn what had been UW's worst serving rotation into an above average one, at least for one night. On one point, Bogomolova's lack of experience in live action caused a miscommunication during a longer rally, but Coach Keegan Cook said after the match that if he can get that kind of serving, he's willing to deal with a defensive liability for one rotation.

Destiny Julye struggled in Saturday's match, prompting a rotation change. Sam Drechsel moved from OH2 to RS for Julye, with Shannon Crenshaw sliding in as the second OH. That combo seemed to work better in the final two sets, but I'm sure Julye will get more opportunities moving forward.

Based on what they've looked like so far, UW seems to be a clear top 25 team that also is fairly clearly not a top 10 team. There's going to be a lot of ups and downs with such a young roster, but I'd be fairly surprised if, at the end of the season, UW either gets a top-10 overall seed or is out of the top 25 entirely.

Pac-12 Notes

  • Despite going 1-1, UW actually moved up a spot in the rankings due to an odd week in the top 25, in which the top 11 looked very good and most of the teams from #12 down looked okay or worse.
  • #10 UCLA survived a pair of 5-set matches to earn wins over #12 Baylor and #19 San Diego, moving them up a spot.
  • #1 Stanford lost an instant classic at #9 BYU, but rebounded with 2 dominant wins to stay in the top 5.
  • #7 USC upset #4 Florida, but then promptly suffered a major upset to UCF.
  • Arizona continued to dominate mid-level competition, and received a larger share of votes. Wildcats look to be returning to the middle of the Pac-12 after a year of struggle.
  • Washington State won twice at #17 Northern Iowa, pushing them into the top 25.
  1. #9 UCLA (4-0)
  2. #23 Washington State (4-0)
  3. (RV) Arizona (6-0)
  4. #21 Utah (5-1)
  5. Arizona State (5-1)
  6. California (5-1)
  7. #4 Stanford (4-1)
  8. #10 USC (4-1)
  9. (RV) Oregon State (4-1)
  10. #12 Washington (3-1)
  11. #18 Oregon (4-2)
  12. #24 Colorado (3-2)

What's next?

The 12th-ranked Huskies hit the road for the first time, heading to the Steel City for the Panther Invitational. The game vs the host Panthers is available through ACC Network Extra.

Pitt sophomore OH #23 Kayla Lund has followed up a solid freshman season by being one of the best hitters in the country through 2 weeks, hitting .350 despite a high volume of attacks. She set a career-high with 20 kills in a win over #24 Cal Poly on opening weekend.


  • Fri, 10 AM: #12 Washington (3-1) vs Dayton (5-2)
  • Sat, 11 AM: #12 Washington at #13 Pittsburgh (6-0) - ACC Network Extra, accessible through WatchESPN.
  • Sat, 4 PM: #12 Washington vs Kennesaw State (6-0)