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UW Huskies volleyball squad has national-championship capability and you can thank this surprising trio

By the lofty standards of Washington volleyball, they were unheralded prospects. The program, headed to the NCAA tournament for the 18th consecutive year, is accustomed to coaxing consensus All-Americans and top-40 nationally ranked recruits to Montlake.

Kara Bajema, Avie Niece and Shayne McPherson barely cracked the top 100 — and in McPherson’s case, she landed in the “next 150” category, recognized mostly as a beach player.

But here they are, the senior core of a Husky team that has aspirations of a national title when the tournament begins Friday at Alaska Airlines Arena.