Seattle U’s star player injured in warmups as Huskies rout Redhawks
#5 Washington def. Seattle University 3-0 (25-14, 25-10, 25-15)
correction: A previous version of this post reported incorrect times for Friday and Saturday's matches with the Canadian National Team. Corrected times are now:
next: Canadian National Team @ #5 Washington [Exhibition matches]
- Fri, Sept 6 | 7PM | Key Arena
The match was a mismatch even before the first whistle.
Seattle University’s best player, 6-5 middle blocker Marina Samadan, injured her back while warming up in Alaska Airlines Arena. Without her considerable talents, #5 Washington rolled over cross-town Seattle U 3-0 (25-14, 25-10, 25-15). It was Washington’s 44th consecutive nonconference victory, dating back to 2008.
|1,240 spectators watched Washington defeat Seattle U at Alaska Airlines Arena|
-photo courtesy Dave Weitl
Last season, Samadan was the nation’s fourth-best blocker (UW’s Amanda Gil finished number one), where she played under coach James Finley at Virginia Commonwealth before both moved west to Seattle U. This year, Samadan led the Redhawks with 50 kills in her first four matches, including a solid .400 hitting percentage.
“She hurt her back during warmups,” said Finley. “She’s the leader of our team, emotionally, physically and otherwise.”
“I was bummed,” said Washington coach Jim McLaughlin of Samadan’s injury. “We had a good plan for Seattle U, and we looked forward to meeting them with (Samadan) in there.”
Even with their star player, the Redhawks might have struggled. The Huskies’ serve-and-pass game was dominant, with Jenni Nogueras again a service-line standout. The senior setter had several strong service runs, including 4 aces, part of a 13-0 Washington ace advantage.
“The serving was great,” said McLaughlin, giving credit to new assistant coach Keegan Cook. “Keegan has worked with all our players on their serves. I like the way he teaches, I like the way he measures, I like his process.”
Although McLaughlin was less-enamored with his team’s passing, it hardly showed against the depleted Redhawks. Both Nogueras and fellow setter Katy Beals were consistently able to feed their sophomore middles, Melanie Wade (6 kills, 1 error on 9 attempts; .556) and Lianna Sybeldon (5 kills, 1 error on 8 swings; .500) for quick attacks, something only possible with good passing. Senior Kylin Muñoz and junior Krista Vansant led all Washington hitters with 7 kills each. For Seattle U, Stephanie Stoll (from Issaquah High School) and Allison Farley also had 7 kills apiece. For the match, Washington outhit Seattle .366-.099.
Coming into the contest, an injury to another star player had received the most attention—an ankle injury suffered Saturday by Vansant. She played the entire match, and even convinced McLaughlin to keep her in during the third set, when there was little doubt about the match’s outcome.
Saturday’s ankle sprain “scared the hell out of” Vansant, said McLaughlin. He says he’ll insist that she follow the training staff’s directive that she wear a protective boot for much of the rest of the week.
- With Washington leading 15-9 in the first set, a Seattle U dig flew high enough to hit the underside of the arena scoreboard, resulting—by rule—in a Washington point. That’s the first time we could remember that occurring since the new scoreboard was installed at the start of the 2012 season. A source confirms the scoreboard was raised during the break between sets one and two.
- McLaughlin placed Vansant and Kaleigh Nelson on the left side, with Muñoz and Gabbi Parker on the right. Last season, Nelson was on the right, and Parker often came off the bench on the left. Cassie Strickland, last season’s OH2, played mostly a server/DS role, and had several athletic digs.
- Washington’s two freshmen—Carly DeHoog and Bailey Tanner—remained in street clothes, each still recovering from injuries sustained during training.
- In the only other action last night involving the Pac-12, #12 Oregon defeated Portland State 3-0 (25-10, 28-26, 25-14) in Eugene.
- Tonight, Oregon State is at Eastern Michigan and #2 Stanford is at Pacific. Last weekend, Pacific swept heavily-favored #20 Michigan State. This weekend, both Oregon and Oregon State meet Michigan State and #7 Michigan. Tomorrow night, #10 UCLA is at Santa Clara.
- UW is offering special ticket deals for this week’s back-to-back matches against the Canadian National Team. Admission to Friday’s 6PM at Key Arena is $10, with the ticket stub good for free admission to Saturday’s 7PM rematch in Alaska Airlines Arena. On both nights, children 12-and-under are admitted free. Key Arena, of course, is the site of the 2013 Final Four; if you haven’t bought tickets, it’s a chance to check out the view of the volleyball court from the seats still available.