The Washington State Cougars opened up their volleyball season this last weekend in Provo, Utah at the BYU Invitational, and they’re leaving Provo with a 2-1 record after beating both Duke and Rider before falling to BYU in their last match of the tournament.
Here’s how the weekend played out.
Game 1: WSU def. Duke, 3-1 (24-26, 25-14, 25-21, 25-20)
In their first match against Duke on Friday, the Cougs won 3-1. They dropped their opening set, but returned with the next three sets. Transfer student Shea Rubright was on the court as a new starter for the Cougs, and Argentina Ung was the starting setter.
After losing the first set, 26-24, the Cougs bounced back. Several players had an amazing first set with some impressive plays. This year’s volleyball team looks sharp and ready to go to the tournament and this pre-season tournament showed to be the case.
Junior middle blocker Jasmine Martin, who had a career-high of seven blocks, came to block with Rubright, giving the Cougs a 10-2 lead early in the second set. The Cougs led the whole set before winning it 25-14.
With the match tied up, the Cougs started with another dynamite offensive and defensive showing. WSU powered through and had a team-hitting percentage of .519. The Cougs sailed their way into the fourth and final set with a winning 25-21 score.
In the fourth and final set, WSU took an early 4-0 lead and continued their winning streak of the match beating the Blue Devils, 25-20.
Sophomore Katy Ryan had four blocks on the night. The Cougs ultimately outhit Duke with 53 kills on 113 attempts. Star senior outside hitter Pia Timmer tallied 17 kills against the Blue Devils. Martin also had a career-high of seven blocks on the night. There were 23 digs between senior liberos Julie Norville and Karly Basham.
Ung, a junior, saw her first start as the setter has five blocks which was a career-best as well as seven digs and 39 assists.
Game 2: WSU def. Rider, 3-0 (25-11, 25-9, 25-9)
In the matinee performance, the Cougs won 3-0 to give head coach Jen Greeny her 300th win as the head coach of the volleyball team. Greeny is the best coach in the Pac-12 and the best volleyball coach this program has ever seen.
Rider did not score over 11 points the whole match, containing Rider to just 29 points overall. Overall, the match only took one hour, which is extremely fast for a volleyball match. There was a new face on the court for the Cougs: fifth-year Arkansas transfer Laura Jansen. She had eight kills on 15 attempts with a hitting percentage of .400. Ryan had a hitting percentage of .545 with seven kills on 11 attempts.
Between Basham and Timmer, there were six aces out of the nine that the WSU women had scored. Each had three. Martin also had a great offensive game, almost having a perfect hit percentage with seven kills on eight attempts, the highest hitting percentage of any Coug for the day. Senior middle blocker Madga Jehlarova had nine kills on eleven swings and a hitting percentage of .818.
The program overall had a program hit percentage of .554.
Game 3: BYU def. WSU 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-15)
Moving into Saturday and the final match for the Cougs, the women lost in three sets to No. 10 BYU.
The Cougs had some luck early in the first set, taking a very early lead over BYU. Sadly, this did not continue as BYU went on an 8-1 run which put the ball in the court of the other Cougars and that is where it stayed for the rest of the night. WSU did come back to tie the set at 13-13 but BYU had another swing of momentum, and with another 4-0 run, BYU took the first set. BYU also had a hitting percentage of .486 and 17 kills amongst them.
The second set was one of great and insane plays from both sides. There were nine lead changes and 18 ties but, unfortunately, the Cougs’ 12 errors weren’t enough to win the set. WSU did not lead BYU any more than two points at any time during the match, and in the last few rallies of the set, WSU made five more errors, allowing BYU to go on a 6-1 run, ending the second set 25-21.
The third set started out great for the Cougs, as they took an early lead for the third time in this contest, but the ladies were unsuccessful in keeping the momentum. WSU finished the third set with only a .143 hitting percentage as BYU got hot from the service line and had four aces in a row. BYU ended the match winning 25-15 which was the lowest scoring match for the Cougs this tournament.
Both Timmer and Jehlarova are coming home as members of the BYU doTERRA Classic All-Tournament team.
The Cougs return to Pullmann this Thursday to host the Cougar Classic for their home opener weekend. The Cougs will play California Baptist, Belmont, and CSU Bakersfield during the Classic.
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