Heart Attack Huskies: Washington wins in five again to move into NCAA national semifinals

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NCAA volleyball Washington advances 041921-Claire Hoffman-Washington volleyball
Washington's Claire Hoffman hits between the Pitt block of Valeria Vazquez Gomez, left, and Chiamaka Nwokolo/Mark Kuhlmann, NCAA Photos

Sixth-seeded Washington won in five for the third time in three NCAA Tournament matches. And on Monday it did it after falling behind 0-2 to upstart Pitt.

But the Heart Attack Huskies came back to win 20-25, 21-25, 25-16, 26-24, 15-9 and became the first team into the final four of Division I college volleyball.

“I don’t think I ever had a doubt,” setter Ella May Powell said.

Washington (20-3), which won the Pac-12, advanced by first beating Dayton in five on Thursday after winning the first two sets, and then on Sunday beat 11th-seeded Louisville.

The Huskies will play the winner of the match later Monday between Purdue and Kentucky.

Also Monday, fifth-seeded Nebraska plays fourth-seeded Texas, top-seeded Wisconsin plays No. 8 Florida and second-seeded Kentucky faces seventh-seeded Purdue.

Samantha Drechsel and Claire Hoffman had 17 kills each for Washington and Madi Endsley had 16. Drechsel hit .343 and had an assist, an ace, 11 digs, and two blocks. Hoffman had three assists, two aces, six digs, and four blocks.

Powell had 48 assists, three aces, 14 digs, and five blocks. Her team hit .245, but .500 with nine kills and one error in 16 attacks in the fifth set. Shannon Crenshaw had 14 digs, an assist, and an ace.

Washington has won nine in a row. It beat Dayton 25-18, 25-23, 24-16, 25-21, 15-11. Then against Louisville, the Huskies won 25-23, 21-25, 21-25, 25-14, and came back from being down 11-5 to go on an incredible 10-2 run to win 15-13.

“Three five-set matches in a row, being down 0-2, being down big in the fifth last match, you couldn’t write it any better,” Washington coach Keegan Cook said.

Pitt of the ACC ended its season 19-5, hit .207. Chinaza Ndee led the Panthers with 16 kills, an assist, three digs, and three blocks. Kayla Lund had 13 kills but hit negative. She had three assists, three aces, eight digs, and four blocks.

Jordan Lockwood had nine kills and a block, Chiamaka Nwokolo had nine kills, hit .350, and had three digs and four blocks. Valeria Vazquez Gomez had eight kills, two assists, 13 digs, and a block. And Sabrina Starks had seven kills with one error in 10 attacks, an ace and six blocks.

Lexis Akeo had a kill, 24 assists, two aces, and 10 digs, and the other setter, Kylee Levers, had 23 assists and nine digs.

“We’ve been playing with an underdog mentality really this whole year,” Pitt coach Dan Fisher said. “We had the lead the first two sets, lost it a little bit in the third, and we were close in the fourth. It could have gone either way. It would have been nice to get that one.

“But it wasn’t meant to be.”

The Heart Attack Huskies celebrate their comeback win over Pitt/Mark Kuhlmann,NCAA Photos
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