Volleyball riding the momentum

Perfect sweeps against both Oregon, Arizona schools lead to hot streak



WSU libero Karly Basham prepares for an incoming spike during a college volleyball match against UCLA Oct. 3 in Pullman.

KAT MCKINNEY-ROLEY, Evergreen reporter

The WSU volleyball team has continued their winning streak, sweeping all four of their recent opponents 3-0. 

The Cougars have been on the road in Arizona and Oregon for the last two weeks. After two losses to USC and No. 17 UCLA, WSU bounced back to win against three unranked opponents and No. 13 Oregon. The win against No. 13 Oregon was the second win against a ranked team this season. 

In their first match against Arizona State on Oct. 7, the Cougs swept the Sun Devils. 

In the first set of the match, the Cougs saw their closest win of the contest. The Cougs and Sun Devils went back and forth. The trio of redshirt middle blocker Kalyah Williams, freshman opposite Katy Ryan and junior middle blocker Magda Jehlarova all took turns swinging against the Sun Devils. The three of them combined had 11 of the Cougs’ 14 kills in the first set. 

In the last two sets, the Cougs went on the attack against the Sun Devils. Some memorable plays include an ace by sophomore defensive specialist Logann Golden. Junior defensive specialist Karly Basham also had a great night with an ace of her own against the Sun Devils. 

Jehlarova was named player of the match. She had a season-high hitting percentage of .667. Jehlarova also added three blocks and three digs to her season stats to lead the Cougs in defense as well. 

Williams and Jehlarova tied for the most kills at 11 apiece. Williams had two blocks, while Jehlarova had three. Junior outside hitter Pia Timmer had nine kills and three aces on the night. This was the first of four big wins for the Cougs. 

The Cougs then went to Tucson, Arizona, to play the Arizona Wildcats on Oct. 10. This was the Cougs’ first win in Tucson since 2016. During the match, the Cougs did not allow a single ace. Basham led the Cougs with 12 digs. 

Timmer and Ryan both had eight kills, while Williams had six. Jehlarova also added four blocks and five kills on the night. 

Redshirt junior setter Hannah Pukis recorded seven aces, while junior defensive specialist Julia Norville recorded two aces. Timmer had five kills in the first set, which helped the Cougs win 25-18. 

In the second set, the Cougs jumped out to a 14-8 lead, which forced Arizona to take a time out. After three straight points, the score was 18-13, forcing another Wildcat timeout. The Cougs won 25-20. 

In the third and final set, WSU continued to dominate offensively and defensively. The team overall hit a .429 hitting percentage, led by Timmer’s six kills and Ryan’s five kills. The Cougs went on a 6-1 run, which was helped by a couple of blocks by Jehlarova and a pair of kills by Ryan. The Wildcats could not keep up, and the Cougs took the third set 25-20. 

Timmer was named player of the match. She recorded a career-high hitting percentage of .444 with 19 kills, one block and one service ace. 

The Cougs then left the Arizonan desert to come back to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Oregon schools. The Cougs took on the Oregon State Beavers on Oct. 15. 

WSU started a little slow in the first set. Both the Cougs and the Beavers could not quite find their rhythm offensively. Timmer did, however, find her rhythm with six kills which gave WSU a point advantage. Fifth-year Penny Tusa and Jehlarova did have the final three points in the first set, which put the set away 25-21. 

In the second set, the Cougs went on a 6-0 run, which gave WSU the momentum to win the set. The Cougs had a comfortable lead of 13-9. WSU had found their offensive and defensive rhythm with help from Pukis. The Beavers did put up a little bit of a fight, but with Jehlarova and Williams on the net, WSU continued to block attempted kills from Oregon State and won the second set 25-19. 

Going into the third set, the Cougs looked to Timmer for an early offensive attack. She would record five kills early in the set to help the Cougs to a five-point lead. The Beavers could not answer the attacks and blocks by the Cougs. WSU showed their offensive and defensive talent in the third set and swept their third opponent, winning 25-18. 

Pukis was named player of the match for her 31 assists, 11 digs and three blocks. This was also Pukis’ seventh double-double of the year. 

The fourth and final road match would be the Cougs’ most difficult opponent. The Cougs took on the No. 13 Oregon Ducks on Oct. 17. 

In the first set, the Cougs set a strong defensive and offensive tone early. Jehlarova started the match with a block, two kills and an ace in her first rotation. After Jehlarovas’ rotation, Timmer took the court. Timmer also found her rhythm with three straight kills, which allowed the Cougs to have a small lead. 

The Ducks tried to slow down the Cougs, but it was too late. With the momentum on the Cougs’ side, the Ducks could not stop them. Jehlarova had a final kill for the set. Alongside Ryan, the two scored the final points to claim the first set for the Cougs. 

In the second set, the Ducks had a fast start. The Ducks took a four-point run and led 7-4. The Cougs did take back their momentum with the help of Pukis. Between Jehlarova and Pukis, the two worked together to score three consecutive points, which included a couple of blocks and finding kills in the middle of the court on the Ducks side.

The Cougs took the lead 10-8, thanks to a 5-0 scoring lead. The two teams went back and forth and even tied the match at 20-20.

With Timmer at the service line, the momentum looked to be on the Cougs side. Timmer did serve an ace, which gave the Cougs back the lead. Williams had the final kill of the set to win it for the Cougs, 25-23. 

In the third set, the Cougs continued to ride the momentum from the first two sets. WSU took an early 10-6 lead. The set got a little close after a battle back and forth. The Ducks closed the lead 12-11. Following a challenge from head coach Jen Greeny, the Cougs went on a seven-point run to put the third set away and beat the Ducks 25-15.

Jehlarova was named player of the match. She totaled 10 kills and nine blocks, which also included two solo blocks. Jehlarova had her hands on nine out of ten of the ten blocks the Cougs had on the day.

WSU finished their four-game road series perfect with four sweeps. 

The No. 22 Cougs are back in Pullman this week to take on No. 15 Stanford and California. The match against the Cardinal will be on the Pac-12 Network at 6 p.m. Friday, while the match against California will be livestreamed by WSU at noon Sunday.