Transfer student-athletes find immediate success

Laura Jansen, Cam Ward, Daiyan Henley begin Coug careers with notable performances 

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Transfers Daiyan Henley (left), Laura Jansen (center) and Cam Ward (right) each made immediate impacts for their team over the holiday weekend.

Brandon Willman, Evergreen reporter

Changing schools can be incredibly difficult, especially when you are a student-athlete entering a completely new atmosphere and culture. However, three transfer athletes for WSU shined for their teams this weekend in their introduction to the Cougar faithful.

The first athlete to make their Pullman debut was Arkansas-Little Rock Volleyball transfer Laura Jansen, who played in and dominated the Cougar Challenge, leading the Cougs to a 3-0 weekend overall as well as winning tournament MVP honors.

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WSU outside hitter Laura Jansen runs onto the court during her introduction before an NCAA women’s volleyball match against California Baptist, Sept. 1, at Bohler Gymnasium.

Jansen was a standout at Little Rock, where she was named to the First Team of the All-Sun Belt Conference in both 2020 and 2021 as well as receiving many tournament MVP honors during her time with the team.

In her first weekend in front of the Cougar faithful, Jansen led the team in kills in all three matches, tallying 40 kills through 11 total sets. She totaled 43.5 points on the weekend, having a major impact every time she was on the court.

Her performance and her improvement from last week were praised by the coaching staff following the final game of the tournament.

“[She] has been amazing at making adjustments,” assistant coach Burdette Greeny said. “An absolute sponge.”

Volleyball has high expectations for this season with Jansen being a centerpiece for the team. If she is able to perform at this high of a level throughout the season, the Cougs are in a great position to be a top 3 team in the Pac-12 and can push deep into the NCAA tournament.

On Saturday, WSU football made their long-awaited return to Gesa Field at Martin Stadium, in the Battle of the Palouse against University of Idaho.

Two transfers made their debut. Sophomore quarterback Cameron Ward from Incarnate Word and redshirt-senior linebacker Daiyan Henley from University of Nevada.

Ward is a NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision transfer from Incarnate Word where he had a dominant season tallying 4,648 passing yards and 47 touchdowns for the team last season.

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WSU quarterback Cameron Ward before the 2022 Spring Game, April 23, at Martin Stadium.

In his debut for the Cougs, Ward would have a quiet first 25 minutes of football, as the offense as a whole would struggle to get into a rhythm. This would change at the end of the first half, as Ward would lead a drive down the field that led to his first TD pass as a Coug on a screen to Renard Bell.

Once Ward got that TD under his belt, he seemed to be far more comfortable making plays. He would end the game going 25-40 for 215 yards and 3 TDs for a QB rating of 132.4. Ward would also tally 18 yards rushing on top of that including two notable scrambles to pick up big first downs for the Cougs in vital moments.

Overall, Ward impressed the students and fans in attendance with his pocket presence and ability to extend plays outside of the pocket. He had a few potential big plays that were missed by the slightest of margins, these plays will be made at a more successful clip as the season goes on and Ward will only look better with more practice.

In his postgame interview, Ward praised the student section’s impact on the game.

“It started getting lit and I appreciate all of the support,” Ward said.

The second notable transfer football player was Daiyan Henley, a LB from the University of Nevada, where he was named to the All-Mountain West second team last season.

The defense for the Cougs had a major impact on the game through all four quarters as they kept the game close when our offense came out the gate slower than expected. Leading that charge was Henley, who seemed to be everywhere on the field on every play.

Henley would tally eight tackles with three for loss, a sack and an interception at the end of the game that would seal the win. Henley is a vibrant personality that brings a spark to the Cougs during the game and a fun attitude to the postgame presser. If there was any interview to watch at any point of the season, it would be difficult to recommend anything other than a Daiyan Henley presser.

Henley would share similar praise for the student section as Ward.

“It was loud and it was the best feeling, I don’t see [Wisconsin] being any louder,” Henley said.

Both of these players attribute the student section with providing energy and an edge in the game against the Vandals. Now that the students have been able to see both of these players play so well in front of them, they will have the full support of Pullman for the rest of the season.

All three of these athletes had stellar performances in their debuts in front of the home crowd and look to continue their success with the full support of the Cougar faithful.