Washington returned from a sweep of the desert schools to continue its dominance at home. Third-ranked UW defeated UCLA in three sets (25-22, 25-20, 25-21) at Alaska Airlines Arena.
The Huskies (22-1, 14-1 Pac-12) are on a 12-match win streak, matching a record set in 2006.
“With our record right now, teams are going to want to beat us,” outside hitter Krista Vansant said. “Beating us could get them in the tournament or give momentum to keep them going the rest of the season. We have to be ready.”
Vansant was ready on Wednesday. The junior had six kills on eight swings and a .625 hitting percentage to get the Huskies going in the first set.
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In the final set, the Bruins led 11-5 before breaking down. Vansant had a kill to end a good rally to put UW up 21-20. The Huskies closed the set and match on an ace from senior libero Jenna Orlandini.
Vansant’s play was a return to her normal style after a blip in UW’s win at Arizona on Sunday. Against the Wildcats, Vansant had just eight kills and four errors on 30 attempts for a .133 hitting percentage in the match.
Against UCLA, Vansant had 14 kills with three errors on 28 total attacks (.393).
“At one point she was hitting over .600,” UW coach Jim McLaughlin said of Vansant’s match. “She can’t do that every match, but the great ones never go below a minimum standard. I’m putting her in that ‘greatness’ category, so she’s got to learn to do that.”
The match against UCLA (13-12, 4-11) was full of oddities. Due to McLaughlin running out of substitutions, UW senior setter Jenni Nogueras had a smash to win the second set for the Huskies, a first in decades for a UW setter. Teammate Kaleigh Nelson, a junior outside hitter, also had an ace in the set — her first time serving.
“We were so pumped,” Vansant said of the team’s reaction in the locker room to Nogueras’ play. “She never gets to do anything like that. It was awesome.”
In the opening set, Washington was warned for taunting. But the biggest anomaly was UCLA’s serving overall.
The Bruins had seven service errors in the second set. UCLA finished with 12 overall.
UW continues its stretch of four matches in seven days with a rematch against fourth-ranked USC on Friday at Alaska Airlines Arena.
• UW announced the signing of Courtney Schwan to a national letter of intent. The Washington state player of the year as a junior, Schwan is a standout at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org