Cougs split weekend series

No. 22 WSU takes No. 15 Stanford to limit, sweeps Califonia



WSU middle blocker Magda Jehlarova (15) spikes the ball during a college volleyball match against California on Oct. 24, 2021, in Pullman.

KAT MCKINNEY-ROLEY, Evergreen reporter

It was another exciting weekend for WSU volleyball in Bohler this weekend, as the Cougs split a pair of matches with Stanford and California.

In the first match on Oct. 22, the Cougs took on the No. 15 Stanford Cardinal. Unfortunately, the Cougs fell in five sets to the Cardinal but had a great match regardless. 

The match against the Cardinal was full of amazing kills, major rallies and important momentum changes as well. The Cougs also had a great service game, being led by fifth-year Penny Tusa, who recorded four aces during the match and had an ace to win the opening set for the Cougs. 

After an opening set win, the Cougs saw a major momentum shift towards the Cardinal that led to a second set victory for the visitors from California. Stanford also showed Pullman a nearly perfect attack performance with a hitting average of .607 in the second set. Stanford took a 10-point victory in the second set. 

The third set looked to be another Stanford victory. However, the Cougs had an amazing comeback. WSU went on a 9-2 run to win the match. Junior middle blocker Magda Jehlarova and freshman opposite Katy Ryan led the comeback. Ryan had four kills and a block to help the Cougs even more for their comeback. The Cougs claimed the third set 25-23. 

Going into the fourth set, WSU led 2-1. Stanford took control late in the set to put the Cougs in a corner. The Cougs fired back with three straight points, which forced the set into extra points for the second time in that match. The Cougar defense made a couple of major stops and digs. Junior defensive specialist Karly Basham led the defensive front with several major digs. Junior outside hitter Pia Timmer, Jehlarova and Tusa all had a major part in the offensive front the Cougs fired back with. Ultimately, Stanford took the fourth set tying up the match 2-2. 

Going to a fifth set, the Cardinal continued to ride the momentum wave from the fourth set and dominated on all fronts. Stanford dominated this set winning 15-8, which also took the match. 

Jehlarova was named player of the match with her nine blocks and 12 kills. 

In their second match for the weekend, the Cougs hosted the California Golden Bears.

Coming off a tough loss didn’t stop the Cougs from bringing out some monster swings for this match. WSU found their momentum early, and it continued through the whole match. 

The Cougar defense established a strong presence at the net which forced the Bears into a negative hitting percentage for the first set. Tusa, redshirt junior middle blocker Kalyah Williams and redshirt setter junior Hannah Pukis all helped with the defensive front and put the set away for the Cougs, winning 25-17. 

In the second set, the Cougs jumped out to a large 11-3 lead over the Bears. Williams again had a great defensive performance in this set with four blocks. Tusa took charge on the offensive side with four kills on seven swings. WSU closed the second set with a win and a hitting percentage of .321, which would be a match-high. 

In the third set, the two teams went back and forth on points until WSU had the final momentum swing of the match. The Cougs went on a 7-2 run which closed out the match. Basham also recorded a couple of aces to secure the win for the Cougs. 

WSU swept the Bears in three sets.

Williams was named player of the match with a career-high of eight blocks and seven kills. Thanks to Williams’ efforts, the Cougs out-blocked the Bears 14-4. 

The No.22 Cougs travel to California this next week to take on No. 16 UCLA and USC to start the second round of Pac-12 play for the season.