Volleyball opens season in South Carolina

Cougs face South Carolina, No. 9 Pitt in Carolina Classic



Then-freshman middle blocker Magda Jehlarova celebrates with her teammates during the game against University of Washington on Sept. 25, 2019, in Bohler Gym.

KAT MCKINNEY-ROLEY, Evergreen reporter

WSU volleyball takes the court for its first normal season since fall 2020. Last season, the Cougs played during spring 2021 after the fall 2020 season was canceled.

The women on the volleyball team faced several canceled matches due to COVID-19 protocol in the spring but still made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The Cougars are currently ranked No. 18 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association coaches poll. WSU went 11-5 last season. Unfortunately, the beloved Apple Cup match against the Huskies was canceled, but that did not stop the Cougs from having an amazing season in the middle of a pandemic.

This week the Cougs are heading to South Carolina to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks and the No. 9 Pittsburg Panthers in the Carolina Volleyball Classic. 

South Carolina is currently not ranked in the AVCA poll. However, Pittsburg ranked No. 9 in the nation.

The Cougs are a young team this year, just like in 2020. Last year, WSU only graduated one senior, with almost every starter returning for another year to represent the Crimson and Gray.

Last season, the Cougs had 794 kills on the season in 16 matches. The women also had 96 aces, many of which were scored by Penny Tusa, who has over 100 career aces during her time at WSU. The women also had 842 digs on the season.

In the spring, the Cougar women had several impressive players named to the All-Pac-12 and All-American teams. Setter Hannah Pukis was named an All-American last season while several of her teammates were named to All-Pac-12 teams. 

Pukis and teammates Pia Timmer, Magda Jehlarova and Julianna Dalton were all named to Pac- 12 teams. This is the first time in program history four players were named to the Pac-12 selections in one season.

Dalton, a sophomore, made her Cougar debut in the COVID-19 season and was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team. Dalton recorded 137 kills, 41 blocks and 381 attacks during the season.

Timmer led the Cougs with 160 kills during the season, as well as a high of 3.20 kills per set. Timmer also had 104 digs on the season.

Pukis, the only Coug to be named an All-American, led the women in assists for the second season in a row, recording 525 in just 15 matches. Pukis was ranked fifth in the Pac-12 in assists. She also had 36 blocks and 61 kills.

Jehlarova finished the season leading the Pac-12 with a .415 overall hitting percentage. She had 110 kills during the season as well. She was also named a two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.

Incoming freshman, Katy Ryan was also named as an alternate for the U20 National Training Team.

These next two upcoming matches should be fun to watch as the women start their new season. The match can be streamed live from the WSU Athletics website