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Washington closes out season with a five-set loss to WSU

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Avie Niece and Ella May Powell go up for a block against Cal.

It was a different ending for the No. 19 Washington volleyball team in an Apple Cup rematch. While the Huskies fought until the end, No. 20 Washington State won in the fifth set (25-14, 16-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-10).

The UW and WSU each managed to play well during parts of the match, but never at the same time. In the three sets the Cougars (21-9, 12-8 Pac-12) won, they outhit Washington by at .147, peaking at .257 to the Huskies’ zero hitting percentage in the first set. In each of Washington’s set wins, it outhit Washington State by over .250, dominating the first set especially with 16 kills and only on error on 24 swings for a team hitting percentage of .625.

In the sets Washington lost, hitting errors were in large part to blame. In the first and fifth sets, hitting errors were equal to kills, and the Huskies (18-12, 10-10 Pac-12) had a match high ten errors in the third set. In the two sets they won, they only had four errors, a clear indication of what head coach Keegan Cook has been saying all season — if Washington can just keep the ball in bounds, they’re dangerous.

Six Huskies had multiple blocks, sophomores Lauren Sanders and Samantha Drechsel with six apiece, for a season-high 14.5 blocks on the night, but it wasn’t the accomplishment it should have been for Washington. Not only did the Cougars match the Dawgs with 14.5 blocks of their own, but the UW also added five block errors, tied for second most this season, that tempered the success of the block.

With the two losses this weekend, albeit in close five-set matches, the Huskies won’t be a host in this year’s tournament. They are, however, certain to be playing in December, but where they end up has yet to be decided.

The NCAA volleyball tournament selection show will take place at 5:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

Reach Social Media Editor Hailey Robinson at Twitter: @haileyarobin

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