The Huskies rolled into Southern California with a three game winning streak and a commanding four out of the last five games won, their lone loss coming to Stanford. Unfortunately, Washington will leave the weekend expecting Oregon on ESPN next weekend and nothing to show for it.
UCLA dug the Dawgs a massive hole to start the game with star player Madi Endsley trying to use 19 kills and a .333 hitting percentage to bring UW out from the gutter.
The issues started when UCLA came out swinging, hitting a strong .350 in set number one. Washington accrued a high number of service errors as well, six to complete this first set loss. Set number two was thus promptly dropped as the Huskies could not contend with a 6-0 scoring run that put the Bruins up over the Huskies 17-8. Washington’s defense continued to have to compete with an efficient aerial attack as UCLA came to a .333 hitting percentage as a team.
Finishing with a stunning total of 17 service errors, the Huskies could not hang on as UCLA took the Friday sweep. This match was defined with few ties and a higher amount of early deficits that the Dawgs could not climb out of. Set three was close coming to ten straight match points that the Huskies would not capitalize on until the Bruins broke through.
Setting their eyes on USC, Washington woke Sunday with a bit of a must win feeling. Not only did they lose to UCLA, a team relatively even with the Huskies heading in terms of conference record heading in, but they got swept. Their rivalry game against one of the nation’s best teams in Oregon was just promoted to ESPN, creating a sense of urgency. The Huskies needed to show they deserve this national attention.
The more or less did, in a way, losing to USC in a close 3-2 fashion. Audra Wilmes this time took the lead in kills and deliberately handled the ball with second-place Madi Endsley. With an obvious 1-2 punch forming between these two players, they did their best as Wilmes finished with 20 kills and Endsley carried 16.
This loss puts the Huskies at 13-8 on the season and 4-6 in the conference putting a gap between them and the upper half. The Huskies went in winning five consecutive matchups against the Trojans but Spooktober works in mysterious ways and the final set was dropped after the Huskies gave up a 7-point run after an 8-6 lead. Kierstyn Barton winner of the last two Pac-12 Freshman of the Weeks, took a step back behind as she put together only 16 collective kills over the weekend.
The Huskies host the Oregon State Beavers on Friday to try and finish out the season with a sweep of that team and on Sunday Oregon comes to town. The game airs on ESPN at 12PM PST/3PM EST. The UW Dawg Pound will have a game thread open for that game so lets show our Huskies some support and tune in!