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Originally published Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 10:29 PM

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No. 5 Husky volleyball team wins Northwest Challenge, edging Gonzaga

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PORTLAND – The fifth-ranked Washington volleyball team was one point away from sweeping through another Northwest Challenge tournament on Saturday, but it wasn’t until an hour later that the Huskies finally subdued an upset-minded Gonzaga squad in five sets. After losing two nail-biting sets in the third and fourth, the Huskies (3-0) closed out with a 15-9 fifth-set win to clinch the tournament title at Portland State.

This is the sixth year of the tournament with the Huskies, Gonzaga, Portland State and Boise State, and the sixth title for UW. But Saturday marked the first time the Huskies had lost sets in the tournament. Washington had two match points in the third set, and five more in the fourth set, before winning on its second match-point chance in the fifth. The final exhausting line was 25-18, 25-21, 26-28, 30-32, 15-9.

This came after the Huskies had swept Portland State just a few hours prior.

Washington hit a strong .356 for the match, but Gonzaga more than held its own at .306 for the night. Five Huskies had double figures in kills, led by junior Kaleigh Nelson’s 18 and 16 for junior Krista Vansant, who left midway through the fourth set with an ankle injury. Sophomore Lianna Sybeldon had a career-high 13 kills, and Melanie Wade also notched a career best with 11 to go with no errors for a .647 attack percentage. Jenni Nogueras had 37 assists and Katy Beals had 35, with senior Jenna Orlandini earning a match-high 18 digs.

Other volleyball

Washington State won its opening two matches, beating Alabama 3-0, then topping Seton Hall 3-2 at the Army Black Knights Invitational in West Point, N.Y.

• Eastern Washington fell, 3-0, to Ohio at the Oregon Classic in Eugene.

• Seattle U beat UC Riverside 3-0 in the Redhawks’ final match at the Wildcat Weekend Tournament in Ogden, Utah.

Cross Country

Lee George was the top WSU men’s runner at the Clash of the Inland Northwest in Spokane, finishing fifth in 18 minutes, 28 seconds on the 6,000-meter course. Courtney Zalud was the top female Cougar, finishing the 4,000-meter course in 14:47 for eighth place.


Nancy Miles, a 2011 graduate of Holy Names Academy, won a silver medal on Friday with the U.S. lightweight women’s quadruple sculls boat at the World Rowing Championships in Chungju, South Korea. Miles is a junior rower at Stanford.

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