Cougar volleyball welcomes Pukis back home

WSU faces No. 12 Oregon at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oregon State at noon on Sunday

WSU+setter+Hannah+Pukis+%289%29+and+outside+hitter+Pia+Timmer+%287%29+prepare+for+an+incoming+spike+during+a+college+volleyball+match+against+UCLA+on+Oct.+3%2C+2021%2C+in+Pullman.

ABBY SONNICHSEN

WSU setter Hannah Pukis (9) and outside hitter Pia Timmer (7) prepare for an incoming spike during a college volleyball match against UCLA on Oct. 3, 2021, in Pullman.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Evergreen reporter

It is finally time to return to Bohler Gymnasium to support the Cougar volleyball team as they take on Oregon on Friday and Oregon State on Sunday.

WSU (10-5) will first match up with the Oregon Ducks (10-2) in the highly anticipated return to Pullman by Hannah Pukis. Pukis, a former Coug who transferred over to Oregon following last season.

Pukis was a stand-out at WSU, holding down the setter position and being one of the best performers in all of the Pac-12. It will be an interesting matchup, as most of the current Coug roster were teammates with Pukis and head coach Jen Greeny helped Pukis become one of the most prolific players in the conference.

She leads a dominant Oregon Ducks offense, a team currently ranked No. 12 in the most recent AP coaches poll. They have two losses on the season, both against ranked opponents and have certainly looked like one of the best teams in the nation.

Oregon has historically conquered the Cougs more often than not. WSU’s all-time record versus Oregon is 12-26. However, WSU won both matches last season, winning in both Pullman and Eugene, Oregon. With home-court advantage for the first time in a month and the fire beneath the team to take down an old teammate, the Ducks are on upset watch in this match.

The Cougs will have a one-day break before they take on the other Oregon Pac-12 school as they host the Oregon State Beavers (6-8).

All-time, WSU is a strong 22-17 against Oregon State and is currently riding its longest win-streak against the program, which is currently sitting at seven games. Furthermore, the last three matches between the teams have all ended with WSU coming out on top in clean sweeps.

WSU is heavily favored to down the Beavers and will look to do so in another sweep.

Players to look out for:

Pia Timmer – Timmer just broke the 1,000 career kills threshold and will look to build on that and look for every way to help her team win. If she can have a strong and aggressive start, it will be too much for either the Ducks or Beavers to overcome.

Magda Jehlarova – The reigning Pac-12 defensive player of the week looks to be the key to success for a 2-0 weekend of the Cougs. She looked her best last week and will look to improve even more.

Cougs from last season – Look out for all returning members of the 2021 volleyball squad to play with a chip on their shoulder. Facing a former teammate can bring several different emotions, but all will lead to the team wanting to take the win for Wazzu.

WSU hosts Oregon at 7 p.m. on Friday and Oregon State at noon on Sunday at Bohler Gym.