WSU drops pair of matches

USC, No. 15 UCLA hand Cougars pair of losses in Bohler Gym



WSU outside hitter Penny Tusa (1) celebrates during a college volleyball match Oct. 1 in Pullman.

KAT MCKINNEY-ROLEY, Evergreen reporter

WSU volleyball lost both matches this past weekend. Both No. 15 UCLA and USC proved to be challenging matches for the Cougs. 

On Friday, WSU and USC played to four sets. Unfortunately, this did not go in favor of the Cougs. 

This match also ended WSU’s eight-match winning streak. 

In the first set, the Trojans took an early lead. The Cougs did come back after a 5-1 run to hold a 17-16 lead. WSU could not find the rhythm that they had been riding through the last couple of matches. 

The Trojans then went on to score four of the five next points. The Cougs did close the gap down to 21-20. USC would have three straight kills to finish off the set. The Trojans won 25-21.

WSU’s Hannah Pukis (9) serves the ball during a college volleyball match against UCLA on Sunday in Pullman.

In the second set, the Trojans had another early lead. The Cougs were behind the whole set. The Cougs did, however, go on a 5-0 scoring run that allowed the Cougs to have somewhat of a comeback. 

USC was not going to let a WSU comeback happen, turning an 18-17 lead into a 23-17 lead. The final score was 25-19. 

In the third set, WSU was trailing 21-17. However, WSU would not go down without a fight. Junior defensive specialist Karly Basham gave the Trojans a run for their money. WSU then had six straight points, which turned into a lead that stayed that way for the rest of the set.

WSU and USC went on an impressive rally. The Trojans saw 10 different attacks on both sides of the net. Junior outside hitter Pia Timmer also went on the attack for the Cougs. 

The Cougs went on an 8-1 run, thanks to some help from freshman opposite Katy Ryan and junior middle blocker Magda Jehlarova. The Cougs won 25-22.

In the fourth set, the Trojans stopped any momentum the Cougs might have had. This final set was a repeat of the first two. 

The Trojans and Cougs went back and forth with rallies and points. The Trojans found a sweet spot on the service line, which proved to be trouble for the Cougs. USC had seven straight points, which turned into a 19-14 lead. 

The Trojans continued to squash any chances of the Cougs coming back. The Trojans won the last set of the match 25-18. 

Hannah Pukis was named player of the match for her five blocks and 43 assists. She also had nine digs and three kills. 

Butch T. Cougar joins the WSU cheer squad during a college volleyball match Friday in Pullman.

The WSU women also played No. 15 UCLA over the weekend. On Sunday, WSU faced the ranked Bruins in five sets. 

The Cougs came out with the same momentum they had for the previous eight matches prior to the USC match. The Cougs recorded 14 kills in the first set compared to UCLA’s 13 kills. WSU won the set 25-20. 

WSU and UCLA split the two opening sets, WSU winning the first set 25-20 and UCLA winning the second one 25-22. In the second set, WSU recorded only 10 kills, whereas UCLA recorded 16. UCLA had a significantly better hitting percentage in the second set. In the first set, UCLA recorded a team hitting percentage of .081; in the second set, a .333 was recorded.

The two teams continued to battle back and forth until an exciting fifth set came around. The Cougs won the third set 25-23, and the Bruins won the fourth set 25-17. 

The Bruins shut down a match point for the Cougs six times. The Bruin fifth-year Mac May came alive during the fifth set and recorded kill after kill to try and stop a potential WSU fifth set win. WSU lost the fifth set in extra points 20-18. 

Ryan was named player of the match, recording her season-high of 19 kills and a hitting percentage of .485. 

The Cougs are now 8-6 on the season and are now on a two-match losing record.