Washington defeat Huskers for Championship

Using their 2004 Final Four experience as a catalyst, the Washington Huskies overcame a partisan crowd and the No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers 30-26, 30-25, 30-26 to win the Division-I women's volleyball national championship at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Tex. The Husker ladies had some momentum in the third game, but faltered late as the Lady Huskies never deviated from their game plan.

Attack errors by two of their best players - Sarah Pavan and Melissa Elmer - closed out the game as the Lady Huskies were finally able to celebrate what they had worked so hard to accomplish. They came just one match short of completing an undefeated season and did not surrender one game throughout the entire NCAA tournament, going 18-0.

Washington Head Coach Jim McLaughlin won another national championship, with the USC men's volleyball team, but considered this win just a little sweeter.

"I think it is, just because it's the first national championship in the history of the school (for volleyball)," he said right after the match.

The Huskers, who had been No. 1 all season long, brought some big, heavy hitters to the floor, including All-Americans Pavan, Christina Houghtelling and Elmer.

Washington countered with a more varied attack, and four All-Americans of their own - Candace Lee, Christal Morrison, Sonja Tomasevic and Courtney Thompson.

The Huskers, who normally hit at a clip closer to .400, hit a dismal .082 in the first game. Too many errors became their undoing.

Thompson, the leading setter in the country, mixed up her sets all match long - going mostly to Tomasevic and Morrison for kills. Those two accounted for 27 of the 50 total kills for UW.

After the Huskies took a commanding 2-0 lead in games, the Nebraska came out bound and determined to sweep the last three - something that's happened twice in NCAA history. They had two and three-point leads going into the middle of the game, but the Huskies - kept digging Nebraska's heavy serves and shots and never blinked as the Huskers threw everything they had at them.

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