Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Recruiting | Bailey Tanner lives with—and learns from—a legend

6’2 Washington setter/hitter “doesn’t want special treatment.”

There’s a spot in Southern California, just south of the San Clemente pier, and just up the shore from Richard Nixon’s former Western White House.

Recruiting | Washington recruit Carly DeHoog trades the pitcher’s mound for the volleyball court

6’4 hitter from Ontario, California is rated one of the nation’s top recruits

Carly DeHoog figures she got into the game a little late. No one recruited her until halfway through her sophomore year at Southern California’s Ontario Christian High School.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

NCAA | Nebraskans love their volleyball

Washington vs. Nebraska @ Omaha | December 7 |4PM (Pacific) | ESPN3

OMAHA—The billboard was our first clue.

It was our inaugural visit to Lincoln, Nebraska, part of a cross-country summertime journey. Looming next to the freeway was a huge outdoor ad: an image of a hard-hit volleyball, splintering a gym floor.

The message: Get your Nebraska Volleyball season tickets before they’re all gone.

Here in Nebraska, volleyball long ago arrived. It ain’t football, but it’s at least as big-time as any other collegiate sport here. Our hotel bellman knew the heights and blocking stats of the Huskers’ front row.

We’ve covered NCAA volleyball tournament matches across the country, and one thing is constant: Nebraska fans turn out in droves. Folks book their Sweet 16/Elite 8/Final 4 tour packages months in advance, even with no assurance the Huskers will still be in contention.

In 2010, there were busloads of Nebraska backers at the Kansas City Final Four, even though their team wasn’t there. The same was true last season in San Antonio, where the Riverwalk was a sea of red windbreakers and ballcaps, each sporting a bold “N”.

We saw that same red wave at championships in Tampa and Sacramento, and should expect to see them again next December at Seattle Center when the Final Four comes to Key Arena.

So, who are these fans? Mostly, they come in pairs—husbands and wives—most born before JFK was President.

“Many of us are in agriculture,” one woman told us. “In December, the fields are frozen. It’s a good time to travel. And many of us consider volleyball our second-favorite sport.”

“When the football team isn’t so hot,” her husband said, “volleyball is number one.”

In 2006, Washington reached its third consecutive Final Four, hosted that year by Omaha. Two other Pac-12 schools—Stanford and UCLA—also qualified, but it was Nebraska that won its first title since 2000. As you might guess, it seemed every seat was filled with someone wearing red (and not Stanford’s cardinal red.)

But if there were any Nebraska students in the 2006 crowd, we had to strain to see them. Mostly, they were middle-aged (or older), and enthusiastic without being raucous. In truth, they weren’t even loud. Supportive? Yes. Respectful? Absolutely. Intimidating? Not really.

And when the Huskers won the 2006 title, a Seattle contingent gamely headed for Omaha’s bars and restaurants, expecting a post-championship celebration. But to our collective surprise, all that red had simply vanished, leaving Husky purple, Bruin blue and Stanford cardinal at the barstools and on the dance floors.

“Oh,” a lone Nebraska couple explained, “folks gotta get home. Many got a long drive. And there’s church in the morning.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NCAA | Does Nebraska have home court advantage?

Huskers playing in their own state, but not their own gym
Washington vs. Nebraska @ Omaha | December 7 | 4PM | ESPN3

[12.06.12: CLARIFICATION: Nebraska's Bob Devany Center is being renovated to accommodate the volleyball program. The NU Coliseum will no longer be used for home matches.] 

The Nebraska Cornhuskers couldn’t play in their own gym this weekend if they wanted to. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

NCAA | Washington, Nebraska coaches almost came to blows last time they met

A 2010 confrontation between Washington’s Jim McLaughlin and Nebraska’s John Cook set the sports world buzzing. On the eve of a rematch, McLaughlin expresses regret.

by Jack Hamann, Volleyblog Seattle
Special to the Seattle Times

Assistant coaches step between Nebraska's John Cook and
Washington's Jim McLaughlin on December 10, 2010 in Seattle
-Omaha World-Herald photo by Matt Miller
They should, you would think, be two mellow dudes.

Nebraska coach John Cook grew up playing volleyball on San Diego beaches. Up the coast in Santa Monica, future Washington coach Jim McLaughlin was rippin’ waves and setting quicks.

Both married athletes. As acclaimed coaches, both won multiple championships. Neither has ever been terribly comfortable in the spotlight.

But on December 10, 2010, the two former beach boys kicked sand in the face of the volleyball world by doing something totally gnarly.

They nearly came to blows.

Read the rest of the story in the December 5, 2012 Sports section of The Seattle Times, in print or online. Feel free to comment on both the Seattle Times site and/or on Volleyblog Seattle.  

NCAA | Is Omaha the toughest regional?

Four seeded teams remain; none have lost to a non-tournament team

Of the 16 teams still in the hunt, 12 earned seeds from the NCAA Tournament Committee. The only region where all four seeded teams survived was Omaha:


(1) Penn St vs. (16) Kentucky

(3) Texas vs. (14) Florida
Purdue vs. (8) Minnesota

Wichita St vs. (6) Southern Cal


(5) Oregon vs. (12) BYU

Michigan St vs. Michigan
(13) Washington vs. (4) Nebraska

(15) Iowa St vs. (2) Stanford

Sunday, December 2, 2012

NCAA | What we learned from Washington’s win over Hawai’i

#5 Washington 3, #8 Hawai’i 2 (25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 27-25, 15-11)
  • next: #5 Washington @ #10 Nebraska | December 7 | 4PM (Pacific) | ESPN3

On the court, she’s her team’s shortest player.

Junior Jenna Orlandini may also be Washington’s most talkative player, even if fans could be forgiven for not hearing her above the din of an often frenetic Alaska Airlines crowd. 

NCAA | Dave Shoji: the NCAA “disrespected” Hawai’i’s athletes

Legendary coach reacts to tournament committee’s decision not to seed the Rainbow Wahine

For most of the week, Hawai’i coach Dave Shoji stewed in silence.

NCAA | Sweet Sixteen: Teams set for next week’s Regionals

Four seeded teams go down; Big Ten is dominant

And then there was one. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

NCAA | Huskies survive Hawaii, advance to volleyball round of 16 (Terry Wood)

Washington wins a white-knuckler
#5 Washington 3, #8 Hawai’i 2 (20-25, 25-20, 19-25, 27-25, 15-11)

From Terry Wood’s print/online report for the Seattle Times … 

NCAA | Figuring out Hawai’i vs. Washington

Washington's Krista Vansant (16) and
Katy Beals (7)
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann

Two powerful teams with radically different offenses
  • #8 Hawai’i 3, Santa Clara 0 (25-20, 25-13, 25-19)
  • #5 Washington 3, Central Arkansas 0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-18)
  • next: #8 Hawai’i @ #5 Washington | December 1 | 7PM

Mita Uiato had 114 decisions.

The Hawai’i setter, facing Santa Clara in the NCAA Tournament first round, put up 114 sets. 40 times, she targeted outside hitter Emily Hartong. 43 times, it was outside hitter Jane Croson.

Hartong responded with 17 kills on just 2 errors (.375), and Croson with 22 kills on 4errors (.419), in a 3-0 sweep of the Broncos.

That means 73% of Uiato’s offense went through just two players on the left side of the Rainbow Wahine offense.

NCAA | Central Arkansas head coach David McFatrich: a class act

Sugar Bears make an impression in Seattle

Your Volleyblog Seattle correspondents have been attending NCAA post-match press conferences for ten years, including eight Final Fours.

NCAA | Tournament Day 2: Louisville loses, Pac-12/Big Ten roll

Arizona State loses; disastrous day for West Coast Conference

The Big Ten is smilin’. The West Coast Conference, not so much.

The Big Ten sent seven teams to the tournament, and all of them are still dancing. Four are still alive in the West Lafayette Regional, where we’d consider three of the four (Penn St, Minnesota and Ohio St) favorites to advance to the Sweet 16, where Nebraska and Michigan have already landed.

NCAA | Huskies advance to face Hawai’i (Terry Wood)

Seattle Times coverage of Washington vs. Central Arkansas
next: #8 Hawai’i @ #5 Washington | December 1 | 7PM

by Terry Wood, Special to the Seattle Times

The Washington volleyball team knocked off Central Arkansas, a newcomer to NCAA tournament play, 3-0 Friday night in a first-round match before 3,588 at Alaska Airlines Arena.

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