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Huskies secure Pac-12 title after second sweep of Cal

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Huskies secure Pac-12 title after second sweep of Cal

The team cheers on the court after winning the fourth set and a win against Arizona State at Alaska Airlines Arena on Jan. 23, 2021. Washington secured the Pac-12 title Saturday after sweeping Cal in the last conference season game. 

And just like that, the regular season for the No. 7 Washington volleyball team is over. 

After sweeping both games of their final conference weekend, the Huskies (17-3 Pac-12) secured their spot as the Pac-12 champions for the first time since the 2016 season.

Saturday mirrored Thursday’s sweep of the Golden Bears (1-21 Pac-12), who will finish last in the conference. With Washington executing offensively and minimizing errors, Cal simply couldn’t keep up with the Huskies’ general cohesion on almost all aspects of their game. 

For the entirety of each set, the Huskies held a lead against the Bears and stopped them from reaching the twenties in each set. 

The middle blockers led the game for Washington, with senior Lauren Sanders and junior Marin Grote ending with an identical nine kills and .667 hitting to lead the team. The Huskies hit .269 overall. 

Marin Grote’s sister, freshman Lydia Grote, led Cal as a middle blocker as well, finishing the day with 10 kills and .409 hitting. 

The win ends conference play, but the Huskies are hoping the season continues long after Saturday. 

As the Pac-12 champion, Washington secures a guaranteed postseason bid as an automatic qualifier for the NCAA volleyball tournament. So, the UW will pick back up sometime during the first and second rounds of the tournament ,which begin April 14-15. 

Five Pac-12 teams are currently ranked nationally, making the chances high that almost-half of the conference will head to the tournament this year. The full tournament bracket will be announced Sunday, April 4 during the selection show, which begins at 1 p.m PST. 

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

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