Saturday, October 17, 2015

College | Washington volleyball has fun winning

Right-side power and relentless defense dooms Ducks
  • #4 Washington def. #24 Oregon 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-16)
  • Wed| October 21 | 7:30PM | #4 Washington @ #6 Stanford

Washington's Tia Scambray attacks against Oregon as setter Bailey Tanner (13) covers
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann

It was clear: the Washington Huskies were having fun.

Leading 19-16 in the second set, UW’s Katy Beals served to start a furious rally. Time and again, Oregon’s hitters attacked to open space. Time and again, Beals and Cassie Strickland and Kim Condie reached that space before the ball hit the court. Pancake digs. Impossible fist passes. Sensational saves.

“I love my team,” said Condie, who finished most rallies with a huge grin on her face.

Washington's Kim Condie (14) covers as Tia Scambray (20) attacks
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann

To Condie, it was exactly like the best part of practice, when the Huskies compete against each other to keep the ball in play, making one exhilarating save after another. “It’s them hitting gnarly balls at me in practice that makes me a better digger,” she said. “If we’re enjoying playing defense during matches, I have to thank our hitters for that.”

Now a fifth-year senior, Condie was the odd woman out when former coach Jim McLaughlin switched to a 6-2 (two setter) offense. In that system, there isn’t much room for defensive specialists like Condie. Although new coach Keegan Cook also employs a 6-2, he substitutes Condie in the back row for freshman Destiny Julye, the starting OH2 ever since UW’s leading hitter Courtney Schwan was injured October 4 in Washington’s only loss, a narrow defeat at #1 USC. For Condie, it’s about time she got her chance to shine.

“Definitely,” she admits. “But at the same time, you know that what you’re doing is for the team. It’s not about you, it’s about the whole team.”

Washington's Carly DeHoog (12) attacks around the Oregon block
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann

When Washington’s defense is clicking, its setters have more opportunity to dish to middles and opposites. Against the Ducks, UW’s two sophomore opposites, Crissy Jones and Carly DeHoog had their best combined match of the Pac-12 season. DeHoog had 9 kills and no errors on 11 attempts (.818).

“Carly and Crissy have put in a lot of work,” said Cook. “They both did a good job tonight. Carly was quiet and deadly.”

“Our setters spread the ball pretty well,” said DeHoog. “When they dished it back to the right, we had a lot of one-on-one opportunities. Those are opportunities we like to take advantage of.”

Oregon head coach Jim Moore
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann

Although Washington outblocked Oregon 10-3, the numbers are deceiving. Duck blockers did stop several attacks, but the Huskies covered those block attempts with ferocious intensity.

“We tell our hitters, hit high and hit hard and we’ll cover you,” said DeHoog. “We say that before almost every play.” It’s nice to have Cassie and Kim and our setters tell us they’ll be there for us. We do our part and they do theirs.”

  • Courtney Schwan saw limited action as she eases back from the ankle injury she sustained two weeks ago at USC. “Every day is better than the last,” said Cook, “and today was another good step forward. She isn’t attacking with the aggression she was (before the injury), but it will come back.”
  • Craig Buck, a former two-time Olympic gold medalist (and US National Team teammate of Troy Tanner, father of Washington setter Bailey Tanner), is in critical condition at UCLA Medical Center. On October 5, Buck was seriously injured in a bicycle accident near his Santa Barbara home. Craig is the younger brother of Volleyblog Seattle’s Leslie Hamann. A Facebook page, “Craig Buck, Get Well Soon” provides updates on his condition, and has been a forum for well-wishes and photos from around the world. Your Volleyblog Seattle correspondents, Leslie & Jack Hamann, thank all who have offered love and support. 


  1. Welcome back volleybloggers! I think what sets this season apart from the past 3 or 4 is the balance. We've had Krista dominating for so long that nobody else really shined. Now we've got this great contingent of Seniors (really going to be sad to see them go!) coupled with the sophmore hitters and Bailey. Destiny looks like she's going to be the real deal. These ladies keep playing team volleyball and great defense they have the ability to get to the finals!

  2. Great to have you back. Healing wishes to Craig.

  3. our very best wishes for a complete recovery for Craig Buck.
    Love this blog site, do you know where regionals are to be held this year?

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Craig still has a lot of medical care ahead, so all best wishes are welcome.

      This year's NCAA D1 Women's Regionals (Sweet 16/Elite 8) are in San Diego, Lexington, Austin and Des Moines. The championships are in Omaha. The way Washington is playing, they could be there. If we had to go out on a limb, based on current results, we'd guess USC, Texas, Washington and red-hot Minnesota. Minnesota travels to Nebraska this Friday for first place in the Big Ten.

  4. I'm sad to hear of Craig's injuries. He's been one of my favorite middle blockers for a long time. IIRC we saw him play the Canadian team at Western Washington prior to the '84 Olympics, and in warm ups he was bouncing the ball off the floor and then hard off the roof. As impressive as that was, it was even more impressive to see him do the same thing over the Canadian MB in the 2nd or 3rd set! Fun times. And then the win in LA was terrific. The Brazilians had just started the jump serve craze, and they blew thru their first few opponent. But the US team frustrated them with their passing, and served almost perfectly to end Brazil's run. More fun times!

    Please let Craig know that a couple more fans are pulling for his recovery! He must surely smile when he remembers those days!

    And I'm glad to see that the Blog is back!


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