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Washington’s road trip continues with a stop at Creighton

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Bajema 9/13

Junior outside hitter Kara Bajema gets underneath the ball for a dig last season. 

It’s Week 3 of the college volleyball season, and the No. 12 Washington volleyball team is still on the road. The Huskies have yet to play a home match, and they won’t until next week. 

“The mindset this week has mostly been centered around recovery for the athletes’ bodies and reconnecting as teammates,” head coach Keegan Cook said. “The first two weekends took a huge effort, traveling five time zones and playing five quality opponents on the road.”

The Huskies aren’t slowing down, though. They packed in a few days of practice before heading out early on Thursday to Nebraska, where No. 17 Creighton is waiting for them. 

The Bluejays are a familiar foe for the Dawgs — they handed Washington an early season loss two years ago, and the Huskies upset them in the tournament to head to the Sweet Sixteen last September. Like the Huskies, they are a consistently-ranked, tournament-caliber team. This nonconference season, they’re another in a long list of tough tests the Huskies have scheduled. 

The Huskies bounced back from an early season loss to then-unranked Hawai’i with the help of their defense. While Washington still isn’t blocking like it wants to, there’s strong defense that isn’t net-front. 

Senior libero Shayne McPherson was a significant part of the defense this weekend, with 28 digs across the two matches, but sophomore setter Ella May Powell and senior hitter Kara Bajema were just as important. Powell had 31 digs in two matches, and Bajema had 21. 

“There has definitely been a commitment to improve our defense behind the block,” Cook said. “The fifth set against Illinois really was won on four or five quality digs. We’re still looking to improve that skill and combine it with the blocking performance we saw in week one.”

Washington will play Drake at 1:30 p.m. Friday, and will play a doubleheader against Nebraska-Omaha at 8 a.m. and No. 17 Creighton at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. All three matches will be streamed by Creighton Athletics. 

Reach Engagement Editor Hailey Robinson at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @haileyarobin

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