WSU volleyball at No. 3 Washington: preview and game thread

WSU Athletic Communications

The Cougar volleyball team looks to upset rival -- and get revenge for an earlier loss -- No. 3 Washington today. WSU needs to beat the Huskies to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

WSU volleyball will be taking on No. 3 Washington in Alaska Airlines Arena at 8 p.m. today. The Cougs need to pull off the road upset if they want to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive after a loss at the hands of Oregon on senior night.

Washington State (18-14, 5-14) has been playing some of its best volleyball of the season heading into the match against Washington (25-2, 17-2). There are three things that the Cougars were able to do in their upsets of No. 4 USC and No. 23 Cal that they are going to have to continue to do if they want to pull off the upset in Seattle on Friday:

Continue getting digs: In their last four matches, the Cougs have averaged 17.94 digs per set – WSU’s season average is 15.97 per set. As a result of the increase in digs, WSU has managed to drag out sets and force upsets.

Offensive Balance: WSU used offensive balance to upend USC – there were four players with more than 10 kills – and an outstanding performance from Kyra Holt (28 kills) to beat the Golden Bears. When these two squads met back in September, WSU’s offensive attack primarily went through Holt, and Washington was able to shut her down.

Setter rotation: Throughout the season, it has been interesting to see how coach Jen Greeny has rated freshman Haley MacDonald and senior Camryn Irwin at the setter position. The offense’s efficiency has really depended who is on the floor.

The match against the Huskies will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.

Washington State needs to pick up this sixth conference win to have any kind of shot at getting into the NCAA Tournament after going 1-2 in their last three.

Last Friday, the Cougs took on No. 5 Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. This match was over pretty quickly, as Stanford outright dominated the Cougs. The Cardinal swept that match in three straight sets (25-14, 25-15, 26-24).

WSU traveled to Berkley, Calif., on Sunday to take on the No. 23 California Golden Bears at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears raced off to a quick start in front of their home crowd and won the first to sets (25-21, 25-16), but the Cougs didn’t give up. Washington State went on to capture the next two sets (25-22, 25-23) and force a fifth set that the Cougs won, 15-10.

Senior night was on Wednesday against Oregon, and the Cougs failed to do much of anything against the Ducks in Bohler. Oregon combined a better defensive and offensive attack to sweep WSU in three sets (25-22, 25-22, and 25-19). Washington State struggled offensively for the first two sets and were unable to overcome Oregon’s ridiculous hitting in the third and final set.

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