The Washington State Cougars traveled out to Minnesota with high hopes, but they came back to Pullman with back-to-back losses against two ranked teams this last weekend at the Minnesota Diet Coke Classic.
Match One: No. 22 Pepperdine def. WSU, 3-2 (25-18, 17-25, 29-31, 26-24, 15-8)
In the first match, on Friday, the Cougs played the 22nd-ranked Pepperdine in a five-set match that ended in favor of Pepperdine.
It was the fifth-year transfer, Laura Jansen, with another stand-out performance for the Cougs. With 22 kills and a .356 hitting percentage, Jansen had the best performance of the night for the Cougs. As a team, the Cougs hit .210.
Setter Argentina Ung had a career-high 57 assists as well. She also recorded five kills and three blocks including a solo block.
Pia Timmer led the Cougs with 20 digs while libero Karly Basham had 17. Basham also had three assists. Magda Jehlarova was also one of the main blockers for the Cougs with three.
So far this season the Cougs have had a couple of matches where they have had over ten service aces. The program record was 14 and, in this match, the Cougs recorded ten. However, the nine errors from the line were not helpful as those nine points added to Pepperdine’s 3-2 win over the Cougs.
The Cougs battled back and forth between Pepperdine. The Cougs fought hard, but with the service errors and the constant momentum shifts, the Cougs looked to win against the Golden Gophers the next night.
Match Two: No. 6 Minnesota def. WSU, 3-1 (25-16, 25-13, 24-26, 25-20)
The Cougs started their second and final match on Saturday. This would also be one of the only tournaments this season that didn’t involve three or more teams.
It was hitter Katy Ryan that trailed Jansen by one kill. Jansen led with Cougs in kills with 16 in the second match in a row. Ryan had 15 kills which would be a season-high for her.
The Cougs lost three of their four sets. This is the number six team in the nation and was 5-3 going into this match while WSU was 8-2.
Setter Argentina Ung had 44 assists on the night and four blocks, four digs, and one kill. I think it’s safe to say that four was the hot number of the match.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a ton the Cougs could do except battle and battle hard. Ultimately it was Minnesota that hit three sets first and took the match.
At one point during the match, Ryan had four straight kills which helped the Cougs go on a 6-2 run and went up by four points (20-16) in the third set. This would be the only set that the Cougs would win, and it was thanks to Ryan who also ended the set with a kill.
In the fourth set, this would prove to be a challenge, however, Jansen had her career best of seven kills in one set. Overall, the Cougs had only a .222 hitting percentage against the Golden Gophers.
The Cougs travel to Seattle to take on Washington on Wednesday at 6 p.m. UW is ranked, so this match has several implications for the Cougs. If you remember last year at the Apple Cup for volleyball, the Cougs won with one match going into the forties.
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