Historic weekend for WSU volleyball

Weekend highlighted by comeback victory against Arizona State



The WSU women’s volleyball team comes together before the first set against California, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Pullman.

KAT MCKINNEY-ROLEY, Evergreen reporter

The Cougs played the Arizona schools this past weekend in a historic weekend for the WSU volleyball program. 

On Friday, the Cougs took on the Arizona Wildcats. 

In the first set, with the Wildcats back to serve to start, the Cougs looked ready to beat the Wildcats for the second time this season. Junior outside hitter Pia Timmer had the first kill of the match. 

Timmer and junior middle blocker Magda Jehlarova both had an amazing first set offensively and defensively. Timmer also recorded an ace in the set following a Jehlarova block. After a great rally, the Cougs forced the Wildcats into a timeout to stop the Cougs’ offensive attack. 

Timmer, Jehlarova and redshirt junior middle blocker Kaylah Williams all had aces in the last half of the set. Redshirt junior Hannah Pukis also had a great start to the match in the first set with a couple kills. The Cougs won the set-off of a Wildcat serve out of bounds, taking the set 25-16. 

Fifth-year outside hitter Penny Tusa took to the service line for the Cougs to start the second set. The Cougs and Wildcats went on a short back-and-forth with kills. However, the Cougs offense and defense kept the momentum from the first set to put down the hammer on the Wildcats. 

Timmer recorded at least two more aces and a couple big blocks and kills. The Cougs forced Arizona into a timeout to try and turn the momentum in their favor. However, they were unable to do so. 

The lead between the Cougs and the Wildcats grew. Freshman opposite Katy Ryan had a kill that lead to an even more aggressive defensive attack from the Cougs. Timmer, Jehlarova and junior defensive specialist Julia Norville combined had five blocks to put the set away. WSU won 25-12. 

Going into the third set with the Cougs up 2-0, the offensive and defensive attack did not let up. Jehlarova and Timmer both started off the set with a combined total of four kills. Arizona did, however, have a small momentum swing and tied the set up for the first time. 

With the Wildcats on their tails, Williams came up with a big kill to try and push away from the visiting Wildcats. Pukis also had a big kill to try and expand the lead. After a few errors on the Cougs, the set was again tied. 

The set then began to get exciting. The Cougs and Wildcats went back and forth until Pukis had an insane tip to win the rally for the Cougs.  Arizona had a couple of big stops and a kill out of bounds that gave the Wildcats their first lead of the match. The two teams battled back and forth, but after a Tusa ace and a Williams kill, the Cougs won the set 25-22 and took the match as well. 

On Sunday, the Cougs took on the other desert school, the Arizona State Sun Devils. 

The first set was rather disappointing for the Cougs. WSU seemed like they lost their rhythm from the Friday night match. Arizona State took an early lead. The Sun Devils dominated offensively and defensively and the Cougs could not answer. After several errors on the Cougs part and kills from Arizona State, the Cougs were forced into a timeout to swing the momentum the Arizona State seemed to have. 

The two teams battled back and forth to put a point on the board. After a couple kills from Jehlarova and Timmer, the Cougs looked like they could take the opening set. Arizona State had a different idea in mind, and they put the hammer down on the Cougs after Tusa’s two aces. Arizona State took the set 25-21. 

Going into the second set, the Cougs put Tusa back to serve. The Cougs once again had a slow start but did battle their way back. Ryan had impressive back-to-back kills for the Cougs, as well. Jehlarova and Ryan went back and forth with kills on the Sun Devils. 

Arizona State did come up with several big blocks and kills to stop the Cougs. WSU brushed it off and looked to have had found their rhythm in the second set. Tusa came up big for the Cougs with a kill and two aces, which forced Arizona State into a timeout. After a Sun Devil ace and kill from the other side of the net, Jehlarova came up with two big kills to close the lead that the Sun Devils had been holding.  

After an impressive back and forth, Timmer came up with a big kill for the Cougs to take the point and try and expand the lead. After several errors on the Cougs part, the Sun Devils tied it, but it was too late for WSU. The fate of the set had been decided and Arizona State took a close second set 25-23. 

With Arizona State up 2-0, WSU needed to step it up quickly. The Cougs scored the first three points in the third set followed by an ace by Timmer. The Cougs had a usually high amount of service errors in the first two sets. Timmer had a beautiful kill that was challenged by Arizona State. The point was turned over to the Sun Devils. 

That did not stop the Cougs. Jehlarova had a kill to start the Cougs offensive and defensive attack. Timmer recorded yet another ace. Ryan and Tusa also stepped up on the net and recorded two major kills for the crimson and gray. 

Hannah Pukis also came up with a major block for the Cougs which set up the WSU lead. Jehlarova had the final kill of the match for the Cougs. After a service error from Arizona State, WSU won the third set 25-19. 

Starting off the fourth set, Tusa came up with a major block which set the tone of the set for the Cougs. Following the block from Tusa, Williams, Pukis and Timmer all came together from their respective positions on the court to help with a very impressive offensive and defensive front from the Cougs to tie the match. 

Jehlarova and Ryan once again traded kills against Arizona State to expand the lead one again. After a Pukis ace, Arizona State was forced into a timeout to try and stop the Cougs. It did not work. Timmer had a kill to end the set and put the match into a fifth set. The Cougs took the fourth set 25-17 after coming back from a 2-0 Arizona State set lead. 

In the final set of the very exciting match between WSU and Arizona State, the Cougs looked like they were on fire. Timmer had a very impressive set after having the first kill of the set and the first ace. Timmer’s ace was challenged by Arizona State but they lost the challenge and Timmer was back behind the lime. 

Between Timmer, Williams and Jehlarova, the Sun Devils did not stand a chance. The Cougs saw a win in sight and they fought for every point they put on the board. Willams had back-to-back kills and Pukis had a tip that forced Arizona State into a timeout. Tusa had another ace which to a major momentum shift for the Cougs. Timmer had the final kill of the day and the Cougs won 15-6. 

The Cougs had a program-high number of aces during the Arizona State match. Jehlarova had one of the best matches in program history against the Sun Devils. She had 21 kills on 25 attempts with no errors. She also hit a .840 which is the fourth-best single-match hitting percentage in Cougar history and best for a player with 20+ attempts. 

The Cougs go back to California this weekend to take on Stanford and California.