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Originally published September 2, 2013 at 8:10 PM | Page modified September 2, 2013 at 9:39 PM

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Washington volleyball plays its first home match of the season, against Seattle University

The Huskies, ranked No. 5 and 3-0 after a tournament at Portland State last weekend, makes its home opener Tuesday at Alaska Airlines Arena at 7 p.m. against Seattle University.

Special to The Seattle Times

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It will be what Washington volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin calls a big-time event: Seattle will host college volleyball’s Final Four at Key Arena in mid-December.

Will UW, which won a national title under McLaughlin in 2005 and last played in a Final Four in 2006, be in the mix?

“This team has got a chance,” said McLaughlin, repeating a line he often states at the start of a season, and for good reason. The Huskies, 25-7 a year ago, reached the round of 16 in last year’s NCAA tournament and the round of eight in 2010 and 2008.

The 2013 team, ranked No. 5 and 3-0 after a tournament at Portland State last weekend, makes its home opener Tuesday at Alaska Airlines Arena at 7 p.m. against Seattle University.

McLaughlin, in his 13th season at Washington, witnessed up-and-down performances in Portland. The Huskies hammered Portland State and Boise State but had to battle through five sets to finally subdue a winless Gonzaga squad.

“We played different lineups, played people in different positions, and had a lineup we wanted to try against Gonzaga,” he said. “We’re still gathering information about our players. I liked that we got to see people develop in areas they’re not comfortable in. We’re developing people as passers, and we wanted them to get in the reps.

McLaughlin said he believes UW can play well consistently.

“I like this team and the direction we’re heading,” McLaughlin said.

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