The sixth-ranked Washington Huskies took down a feisty Arizona Wildcat squad in front of a rowdy blacked-out Dawg Pack, holding on for a 25-10, 25-20, 21-25, 25-20 win at Alaska Airlines Arena on Friday night.
The Dawgs jumped out to an early 4-0 advantage in the opening set. Arizona fought back to make it 5-4, but Cassie Strickland served the Huskies to seven straight points and a 13-5 advantage. The Huskies never looked back, easily capturing the opening set 25-10, with the Dawgs hitting .391 compared to -.148 for the Wildcats.
After committing eight errors in the opening set, the Wildcats committed just two errors in the second set. Arizona jumped out to an 11-9 lead, forcing the Dawgs to take a timeout. But the timeout did the trick, as the Huskies reeled off six of the next eight points, forcing Arizona to take a timeout after the Dawgs grabbed a 15-13 advantage. The Dawgs and Wildcats traded points from there, with the Huskies ultimately grabbing the second set 25-20.
The Wildcats controlled the third set throughout, jumping out to 7-2 lead. The two teams then seemingly traded points for the remainder of the set, with the Wildcats holding on for a 25-21 win. The Huskies hit a dismal .053 in the set, registering just nine kills to seven errors.
The fourth set was tight throughout. With the score tied at 11-all, the Huskies took six of the next seven points to seemingly grab control of the fourth set. But the Wildcats made a late push, cutting the Huskies lead to 21-20. The Dawgs fought back, winning the next four points to grab the fourth set 25-20 and match 3-1.
“It was awesome,” Huskies head coach Jim McLaughlin said. “The whole atmosphere, the blackout, it was all good. The crowd was just unbelievable, they were fantastic, and it just gave me chills when I came out of the locker room.”
The Huskies hit .276 for the match, recording 51 kills to just 14 errors. Krista Vansant led the Huskies with a match high 14 kills, while Kaleigh Nelson added nine kills and Kylin Munoz had eight kills.
The Huskies improved to 12-1 overall and 4-1 in Pac-12 play. The Dawgs return to the court on Sunday when they host Arizona State.