There are few sure things in sports, but the Washington volleyball team reaching the NCAA tournament and moving on to the second round is about as certain as it gets.

The Huskies started their 20th straight NCAA tournament just like they have their previous 19, advancing to the second round, this time with a 25-15, 25-13, 25-20 victory over Ivy League champion Brown on Friday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.

Washington (25-4), the Pac-12 champion and seeded No. 15 overall, won for the ninth straight time and the 18th time in 19 matches, and will play Hawaii on Saturday at 7 for a berth in the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight season.

“I am glad we are able to play again and have one more chance to play in front of our home crowd tomorrow,” said UW coach Keegan Cook.

Cook has been the head coach for seven of UW’s 20 straight trips to the second round.

“There are a lot of memories and a lot of standards when you have a program like this,” Cook said. “Sometimes the second round seems like the starting point, but you can’t take any match for granted, or any opponent for granted. We got our sights set on getting to Columbus (for the Final Four), but certainly proud to keep any streak going that we’ve had for 20 years.”


Cook said his team entered the tournament playing better than it was before last year’s event, when UW advanced to the Final Four. Washington played at a high level against Brown (20-6), even if players and the coach said they weren’t completely satisfied.

“We put a really high emphasis on defensive intensity, and we know when we hit that standard, we can play really, really good volleyball, and I don’t think we hit that tonight,” said outside hitter Claire Hoffman. “We are really excited to have another chance to play at home and try to beat that standard.”

Lauren Bays served six straight winning points for UW to give the Huskies an 8-2 lead in the opening set. The Bears responded by scoring the next four, but UW pulled away from there with its serves keeping Brown continually on the defensive.

The second set started like the first set, with Bays, a libero, serving with the score 2-2. Once again, the freshman delivered. A pair of aces from Bays began a four-point string and the Huskies controlled the rest of the set.

Brown fought hard in the third set, but UW controlled most of it, and a Shannon Crenshaw ace — her fourth of the night — ended the set and the match.

The Huskies hit .323 for the match, with setter Ella May Powell finding an assortment of hitters. Hoffman led the Huskies with nine kills, and nine players had at least two kills for UW.


Bays had four aces, combining with Crenshaw to have all eight for the Huskies.

Hawaii (22-7) advanced with a five-set victory — 17-25, 25-14, 25-13, 21-25, 15-11 — over Mississippi State (25-6).

Amber Iguede had 18 kills and a .500 hitting percentage to lead the Rainbow Wahine.

“We are looking forward to another classic Hawaii-Washington showdown here (Saturday),” Cook said.

Powell said having the home fans will help.

“I can’t say enough how big of a deal our fans are for us,” Powell said. “Playing in this gym is the most enjoyable thing of what we do, and I am thankful to be back here.”