WSU volleyball to be tested in Minnesota

The Cougs head to the midwest to take on Pepperdine and Minnesota 



The WSU women’s volleyball team celebrates after defeating CSU Bakersfield in an NCAA volleyball match, Sep. 2.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

They started as the forgotten team of the Pac-12, but now WSU volleyball is on the cusp of breaking into the top 25 and showing they belong among the top programs.

WSU Volleyball (8-1) is set to face off against Pepperdine and Minnesota over the weekend in University of Minnesota Diet Coke Classic.

So far this season, the Cougs have only lost one match against a ranked BYU team in the first weekend. Since that loss, they have won six straight and lead in sets 18-2.

In their three most recent matches, they finished off three straight sweeps against Howard, Fairfield and Fairleigh Dickinson while they competed in the Fairfield invitational.

These strong performances were not enough to persuade voters to increase the team’s rankings in the standings, as their strength of schedule has not matched up with some of their opposition. Heading into this weekend they are currently ranked No. 34.

If they are able to finish this weekend with two wins, they will easily become ranked and be in a prime position to continue to climb the ladder with wins in conference play.

The first matchup of the weekend is against the No. 22 ranked Pepperdine (7-2). They will play at 3 p.m. on Friday. The Cougs have never faced off with the Waves, with Friday being the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

Pepperdine comes in as the slight favorite, but WSU will be able to get the win if they have a strong defensive showing and are able to limit their mistakes like they did in the Fairfield Invitational.

The second matchup of the day is against the hosting Minnesota Gophers, the No. 6 ranked team in the nation. They will play at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The Gophers will be looking to bounce back following a loss to a ranked Stanford squad, but that loss shows that their highly praised team can be taken down.

With a split weekend, WSU should still make it into the top 25 of the rankings. They will all but be guaranteed a spot if they somehow win both of their matches.

Overall, this weekend will set the tone for the rest of the season and will show the Cougs what they will need to work on going into conference play. The most notable thing that can allow the team to take the win is limiting mistakes, something they improved upon in Fairfield.

Players to look out for:

Argentina Ung – Ung is on pace to have a top-10 Cougar season in assists in a single year. Look for her to add to her total and dictate how well the offense plays.

Jasmine Martin – Martin had a strong weekend in Fairfield, tallying 17 blocks over the three games. Look for her to continue to build off this performance.

Katy Ryan – Ryan is having an impressive start to her sophomore campaign. Look for her to bring the energy at the net that will be needed to take down the ranked opponents.