Washington volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin expressed confidence last night after his team's final practice before its NCAA tournament round-of-16 match tonight against St. Mary's Mary's. "It's going...

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Washington volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin expressed confidence last night after his team’s final practice before its NCAA tournament round-of-16 match tonight against St. Mary’s.


“It’s going to come down to who serves better and who passes better,” McLaughlin said. “We tend to win that battle wherever we go. I feel pretty confident.”


The Huskies (26-2) face St. Mary’s (25-3) at 7:30 p.m. in Edmundson Pavilion, after UCLA (20-10) plays Penn State (29-2) at 5 p.m. The winners play tomorrow at 7 p.m.


St. Mary’s coach Jon Stevenson said the Gaels “are back in the underdog role,” but added, “We relish that role. We’ve done well in that role.”


The Gaels, from Moraga, Calif., have one of the nation’s top setters in sophomore Mandy Bible.


Mariko Coverdale, a sophomore middle blocker for the Gaels, is from Marysville-Pilchuck High School. Stevenson describes her as having “a ton of potential.”


In the deciding fifth game in St. Mary’s second-round match against California Saturday, Overby had no mistakes and was plus-five, which means she made five good plays.




Notes


• St. Mary’s first trip to the Sweet 16 came after a 3-2 win over neighboring Cal 3-2. Earlier in the season, the Gaels beat Stanford twice.


Luke Hagerty, brother of UW junior outside hitter Brie Hagerty, is a 6-foot-7 left-handed pitcher in the Chicago Cubs’ minor-league system. He was drafted in the supplemental portion of the first round in 2002.


• McLaughlin said he thinks the Edmundson Pavilion crowd will be larger than the projected 2,500.


“In the NBA, a guy dives and the crowd goes nuts,” he said. “These guys dive every play.”