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WSU volleyball's comeback falls short against No. 20 UCLA

The WSU volleyball team lost a tough match in four sets to No. 20 UCLA, 1-3 (24-26, 16-25, 25-22, and 23-25). UCLA used its defensive performance to beat the Cougs.

The WSU volleyball team (9-7, 0-4) couldn't comeback against No. 20 UCLA (11-4, 2-2), as the Cougars lost in four sets -- 1-3 (24-26, 16-25, 25-22, and 23-25). Both squads were performing well on offense, but it was the Bruins' defense that made the difference.

UCLA took a 24-23 lead, and earned match point, after a kill by senior outside hitter Karsta Lowe. The Bruins ended up winning the match on an attack error by WSU's senior outside hitter, Jaicee Harris. This is Washington State's fifth straight loss, fourth straight in conference play.

The fourth set was a back and forth affair, with 18 ties and six lead changes throughout. UCLA started off the fourth set quickly by winning the first two points, but the Cougars ended up working their way back and taking a 6-5 lead; the Bruins tied the set on a questionable net violation. After that, neither team was really able to pull away from the other one.

UCLA had 58 digs in the match, WSU had 48, and that was the big difference maker towards the end. The Cougars were unable to get crucial kills because UCLA's players weren't letting the ball hit the court.

WSU forced the fourth set after winning the third set 25-22. In the third, the Cougars a 3-0 run in the middle of the set to them a 17-14 lead, then withstood a UCLA comeback that tied it up at 19-19.

The third set was a 180 degree turn around for the second set, where WSU wasn't aggressive enough.

"In that second set, we were not being very aggressive," said Cougar head coach Jen Greeny. "That's what we talked about at the game break, being more aggressive throughout the entire set. I think that we definitely did that, and we got our blocking going and that made the difference."

Early on in the second set, Washington State started off with a 4-1 lead, and again led 5-4 after UCLA closed the gap. UCLA ended up taking control of the set when the Bruins went on a 6-0 run, and led the set 18-10. The Bruins ended up winning this set 25-16.

WSU played the Bruins tight in the first set, as there 18 ties and six lead changes. The Bruins had three straight set points, but couldn't put the Cougars away; and Washington State forced extra points. UCLA ended up winning the first set, 26-24.