Good morning, Coug fans!
Tonight, your very own No. 10 Washington State University volleyball team hosts Grand Canyon University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The game begins at 7pm, can be streamed on ESPN+, and I expect to hear about as many of you in attendance as possible!
Magda Jehlářová heads into this game after receiving her fifth career first team All-Pac-12 honor, and is the first athlete in conference history to do so. This is obvious and incredibly corny but she is just so good at volleyball, you guys. I don’t think we spend enough time per day talking about it. I think we need to spend at least 10 minutes every single day talking about how good she is. This can count towards that time, but we have probably 8 minutes to go.
Hosting their opening game is an exciting feat! Grand Canyon is 23-7 on their season, and have won their last four games.
This is the debut tournament appearance for GCU, as it marks the first automatic bid they’ve gotten, due to their performance in the Western Athletic Conference this season. They rank 16th in blocks per set (averaging 2.7), and 20th in aces per set (1.88). Tatum Parrott is a name to keep an eye on, as she leads in points per set- and averages 4.69 kills per set. Ashley Lifgren and Parrott both had double-doubles in the WAC Championship game as well.
The Cougs are also the highest-ranked opponent that GCU Volleyball has ever faced off against. While WSU statistically plays excellent at home, the Lopes do tend to travel well, going 15-4 on the road this season.
There will likely be a large presence of Grand Canyon fans, as one of their players, setter Klaire Mitchell, is from Couer d’Alene. Mitchell is the highest decorated GCU player, and averages 10.7 assists per set this season.
Whoever wins this match (ideally us) will advance against either Dayton or Pepperdine, we’ll find out after their game!