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Washington sweeps Cal to start last regular season weekend

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Washington sweeps Cal to start last regular season weekend

Junior hitter Claire Hoffman spikes the ball against Stanford at the Alaska Airlines Stadium on March 26, 2021. Hoffman led the Huskies with nine kills during Thursday's sweep of Cal. 

Kicking off it’s final conference weekend of the season, the No. 7 Washington volleyball team finished its first night in Berkeley with a quick 3-0 sweep of Cal. 

At first, Thursday’s first set looked eerily familiar to last weekend’s extended game against Stanford, but after improving hitting, no sets fell out of the Huskies’ (16-3 Pac-12) hands all night. 

After heading into extra points following a 24-24 tie in the first, the Huskies pulled through by two points to deny the Golden Bears (1-20 Pac-12) the set. 

Junior Claire Hoffman, who led the Huskies in kills for the night, finished the first hitting 1.000% off five successful kills. 

And the Bears, who have not won a single set since March 7, just couldn’t keep up after that. 

Washington didn’t let go of a quick second-set advantage, winning 25-13 after maintaining a lead throughout the entire set. Overall hitting improved from .250 to .406 between the first two sets. 

Although Cal nearly found a tie at 9-8 in the third, it wasn’t nearly enough to stop Washington as it continued to push its lead to take the third, 25-14. 

In preparation for upcoming tournament play and the final regular weekend, head coach Keegan Cook has been looking for improved serving, which has been an emerging issue in recent matchups. 

For just the third time of the season, service aces outnumbered service errors Thursday. 

Senior Samantha Drechsel, who finished second in kills with eight, accounted for five of eight total Washington aces to set her season high. 

It was a good start to the last regular season weekend for the Huskies, who only have one more game Saturday, April 3 before the NCAA tournament selection begins. 

If Washington can emulate Thursday’s success in the second matchup with Cal, Washington will take the Pac-12 title. Saturday’s game will begin at 1 p.m. 

Reach Co-Sports Editor Sydney Nash at Twitter: @sydneym_nash

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