Volleyball continues rough start to season

Two-match weekend concludes with two losses for WSU



The Cougar volleyball team huddles up one last time before the start of the first set in the matchup against Cal on Feb. 26 in Bohler Gym.

KAT MCKINNEY-ROLEY, Evergreen reporter

The WSU volleyball team is off to a rough start this season. After the first two losses at the Carolina Volleyball Classic, the Cougs looked ready to go to Las Vegas for the Rebel Classic and win at least one match. Unfortunately, the Cougs lost both their matches. 

In the first match of the Rebels Classic against UNLV, the Cougs lost 3-1 in four sets. 

In the first set, WSU took a quick and early 4-2 lead. Junior outside hitter Pia Timmer had a kill and junior middle blocker Magda Jehlarova had an ace to help the Cougs to their lead. However, the Rebels came back on a 12-4 scoring run to lead the set 19-14. The Cougs tried to fight back to regain the lead but unfortunately could not.  In their first set, the Cougs had an overall hitting average of .088, whereas the Rebels had an average of .143. 

In the second set, the Rebels continued their momentum swing. With a 4-0 scoring run, UNLV looked to take a very early lead. The Cougs were able to fight back with freshman opposite Katy Ryan recording a solo block and sophomore setter Argentina Ung with a kill. WSU started to get into a bit of a scoring run, outscoring UNLV 6-2. This set up a tied 10-10 second set of the match. The two teams went back and forth until WSU took a 21-19 lead. Ung recorded a couple more kills and an ace. Jehlarova had two more kills and WSU won the second set 25-19. 

In the third set, the two teams were tied 1-1. The lead went back and forth for the first 15 points of the match. The Cougs and Rebels battled it out on the court after the Cougs had an early offensive start. The Rebels did go on a 5-1 scoring run, which forced WSU to take a time out. UNLV had a 15-13 lead. Both the Cougs and Rebels made some pivotal errors. This led to a 5-1 UNLV scoring run and ultimately lead to UNLV winning the third set 25-19.

In the fourth and final set, WSU went on a quick 3-0 scoring run started by a kill from Timmer. UNLV fought back with a 5-1 scoring run to take back the lead 15-13. The two teams traded back leads and points. Timmer recorded back-to-back kills and gave WSU a 21-20 lead. The Rebels took four out of the last six points to win the set 25-22. 

WSU lost the first match 3-1. 

Jehlarova led the Cougs with 11 kills, one ace and four blocks while teammates Timmer and redshirt middle blocker Kalyah Williams both had seven kills on the night. 

The Cougs had 38 kills, 21 errors, six aces, and seven blocks. The overall hitting percentage of the match was a .143. 

In the second of the two matches that WSU played in the Rebel Classic, the Cougs lost to No. 8 Purdue. 

The Cougs, 0-3 at this point, were able to have an early jump out against the Boilermakers to lead 8-5 . Fifth-year outside hitter Penny Tusa recorded a kill and a block. Purdue quickly reacted and went on a 5-1 run to take the 14-11 lead. The Boilermakers continued to dominate the rest of the set and ended up winning 25-19. Tusa had three kills, two digs, and one block. Sophomore outside hitter Julia Norville recorded two digs and an ace. Jehlarova recorded one block as well. 

The Boilermakers continued their momentum from set one, opening with a 6-2 scoring run. However, WSU was not going to go down without a fight, having a scoring run of 7-2 to take a 16-15 scoring lead. Redshirt junior setter Hannah Pukis, Ryan, Tusa, and Jehlarova all made big offensive plays and forced Purdue to take a timeout. WSU led 21-19. Tusa continues to make big offensive plays on the court recording back-to-back kills to tie Purdue 23-23. The Boilermakers took the set with a kill. 

Williams, Timmer and Ryan all took part in the early offensive attack in the third set. WSU totaled a 6-5 kill advantage. The Cougs and Boilermakers went back and forth. WSU made a couple of small offensive runs to take the lead from Purdue. Williams and Pukis continued to record kills while the Cougs took the lead 17-16. Purdue went on a 5-1 scoring led to take the set led 21-19. The Cougs and Boilermakers continued to fight, but the Boilermakers ended up winning the third and final set 28-26.

Tusa recorded 10 kills, while Timmer recorded seven kills. 

Up next, the Cougs will make their Pullman debut in the Cougar Classic. The Cougs will play Gonzaga on Sept. 9 and Long Beach State and Northern Iowa on Sept. 10.