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Instant: UW sweeps Winthrop to advance to second round of NCAA Tournament

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Instant: UW sweeps Winthrop to advance to second round of NCAA Tournament

Senior outside hitter Kara Bajema spikes the ball in Washington's sweep over Winthrop in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Alaska Airlines Arena on Dec. 6, 2019.

The No. 8 Washington volleyball team kicked off the tournament with a sweep of Winthrop (25-23, 25-10, 25-10). 

Senior outside hitter Kara Bajema led the team with 18 kills, hitting .667, despite only playing in two of three sets. Avie Niece and Samantha Drechsel both added seven kills apiece, and Niece led the Dawgs with three blocks.

Winthrop ended up helping the UW’s cause with 17 errors.

The Huskies (25-6, 15-15 Pac-12) got off to another slow start against Winthrop, but Bajema was on fire. She had 10 kills in the first set alone, hitting .667. The Huskies had eight hitting errors and five service errors, but Bajema took them to a two-point victory.

In the next set, things were different. Bajema still led the Huskies with eight more kills, but the rest of the team helped her to the victory, with only one error in the entire set. They went from siding out in the high 50s to siding out at 80% and hitting .556. 

In the third set, Bajema didn’t come in at all, but that wasn’t a problem for the Huskies. Keegan Cook let the rest of the team see out another dominant set win, putting out his reserves for some tournament experience. 

Washington will take on South Carolina, which upset Colorado State in five sets, tomorrow at 7 p.m. The match will take air on the Pac-12 livestream.

Reach Engagement Editor Hailey Robinson at Twitter: @haileyarobin

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