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UW wins in Colorado to set up thrilling final matchday

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UW wins in Colorado to set up thrilling final matchday

Senior Lauren Sanders spikes the ball during Washington's game against Oregon State at Alaska Airlines Arena on Nov. 19. UW took down Colorado in four sets on Nov. 24 in Boulder.

The No. 12 Washington volleyball team ensured Wednesday in Colorado that its shot at a second consecutive Pac-12 title will come down to Saturday in Seattle. 

Recording its seventh win in a row, Washington defeated Colorado with a strong 3-1 (25-17, 21-25, 26-24, 25-19) performance.

Tied at the top of the Pac-12 standings with No. 13 UCLA, the Huskies (23-4, 16-3 Pac-12) recognize that every match from here on out has to end in a win. Facing the Buffaloes (15-13, 6-13 Pac-12), who have lost four out of their past five matches, it was an expected victory for the Huskies.

Hitting .233 and recording four aces in the first set, the match looked like it was going to be an easy win for UW, coming away with a 25-17 victory.

However, the Buffaloes responded right away. With four blocks, four aces, and a hitting percentage just shy of .300, Colorado gained its momentum after winning the second set 25-21. 

Towards the end of the third set, Colorado seemed bound to take a 2-1 lead, as it led the set 23-19. With Washington in an unfavorable position, freshman Emoni Bush stepped up to the plate and delivered three kills to help the Huskies win the third set, 26-24.

In the fourth and final set, Washington closed out the match calmly with a 25-19 victory. 

Bush played outstanding Wednesday, leading the Huskies in offensive efficiency with 13 kills and a hitting percentage of .423. Meanwhile, senior Lauren Sanders was also more involved on the offensive end, recording a season-high seven kills.

Service and serve receiver has also seemed to be an increasing factor in the Huskies success, as they finished with eight aces and held Colorado to four aces.

With one match left in the Pac-12 season, Washington goes up against stiff competition in No. 21 Washington State on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 1 p.m.

This rivalry matchup with the Cougars will make or break the Huskies chances at a Pac-12 Championship.

UW and UCLA are currently tied atop the Pac-12 standings. If both the Huskies and Bruins win or lose Saturday they will earn a share of the Pac-12 title, but the Bruins would earn the automatic bid for the NCAA tournament because they won more head-to-head sets this season.

Reach reporter Spencer Smith at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @spencerssmith24

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