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HCA: WSU volleyball set to take on No. 1 Stanford in the Sweet 16

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Can the Cougs pull off the upset?

WSU Athletic Communications

The Washington State Cougars volleyball team breezed through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament with home victories over Northern Arizona and Tennessee, but the road gets much tougher now as the No. 4 seed Cougs have traveled south to face the No. 1 overall seed Stanford Cardinal in the Sweet 16 at Maples Pavilion.

The match with start at 5:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on WatchESPN.com or the ESPN App on your favorite streaming device.

The Cougs (23-9 overall, 12-8 Pac-12) and Cardinal (30-1, 20-0) are well acquainted, having played twice this year. The results haven’t exactly been close, though — WSU won just one set out of seven in the two matches.

“They’re a really good team that seems like none of us could test them a whole lot throughout the year,” WSU coach Jen Greeny said. “Just the level of talent they get year in, year out. If it’s not getting the No. 1 recruit, it’s getting a top-five recruit, and not just one of them.”

It’s definitely a long shot for the Cougs against the powerhouse Cardinal, who breezed through their first two matches against Alabama State and Loyola Marymount in straight sets. Here’s to hoping the old sports adage of “it’s really hard to beat a team three times in one season” holds true.

“They are the No. 1 seed for a reason, and as we all know, undefeated in the Pac-12,” Greeny said. “So we will have to play well. Our offense will have to be clicking, and we’ll have to pass well. We’ll also need to serve well on our side and make them predictable.

“I think it helps that we’re familiar with them, and we’re also familiar with Maples Pavilion, so it’s not a place we’ve never gone.”

If WSU can somehow pull it off the upset, it would be perhaps the biggest win in program history and mark the Cougars’ first run to the Elite Eight since 2002.

Also, make sure you listen to Greeny’s appearance this week on The CougCenter Hour.

Links

WSU volleyball accentuating positives for clash with No. 1 Stanford | The Spokesman-Review
The 16th-seeded Cougars take their swing at No. 1 Stanford in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 at Maples Pavilion on Friday.

NCAA round of 16: The breakdown of all eight Friday matches - Volleyballmag.com
Washington State, the No. 16 seed, admits it plays with a chip on its shoulder. The Cougars are talented and boast two of the best outsides in the country in seniors McKenna Woodford and Taylor Mims. The chip will have to be large and everyone on the WSU team will have to sparkle to win this one.

Coug RB James Williams isn't happy about Pac-12 snub - Cougfan.com
“This ain’t nothing but a little adversity,” Williams wrote of his honorable mention selection. “I definitely feel that I should have gotten something better, but whoever knows me knows that this is just going to make me work 100x harder to get where I want to be. I promise you that.”

TICKET SALES: WSU Alamo Bowl sales tepid, while Iowa State soars - Cougfan.com
As of late Wednesday, WSU had sold just 2,400 of its 12,000 ticket allotment, SID Bill Stevens said. Iowa State, meanwhile, is facing no such lack of enthusiasm.

WSU assistant coach pay and how it ranks in Pac-12, nationally - Cougfan.com
USA TODAY IS out with its annual salary data for FBS assistant coaches. Washington State’s 10 assistant coaches make a collective $3.23 million this season. That ranks 44th nationally, and eighth in the Pac-12.

Matt Brock has elevated WSU's special teams play in 4 major ways - Cougfan.com
Cougars lead Pac-12 in two special teams arenas and are No. 4 in nation in a third

Washington State, Iowa State ready for first-ever matchup in Alamo Bowl
No. 13 Washington State will face No. 24 Iowa State in the 2018 Valero Alamo Bowl.