UCLA Bruin might too much for Cougs to handle

Cougs trip up ahead of Apple Cup 



WSU middle blocker Magda Jehlarova (15) and outside hitter Pia Timmer (7) attempt to block a spike from Utah middle blocker KJ Burgess during an NCAA volleyball match, Nov. 18.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Evergreen reporter

It was a thriller in Bohler on Tuesday night, but the might of the Bruins was just too much to handle for the Cougars down the stretch. 

WSU volleyball (21-9, 13-6 Pac-12) hosted UCLA (16-12, 10-9) on Tuesday in what turned out to be one of the most tightly contested matches of the season for the Cougs. After falling behind in sets, it came down to a fifth set that the Bruins won. 

The final score was a 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 25-22, 13-25, 15-11) win for UCLA in a match they needed to win to have any hope of making the NCAA Tournament. While not a necessary win, if the Cougs were to have prevailed, their seeding would have looked much better come Sunday’s selection. 

For the match, the Cougs made far fewer attack errors than the Bruins, 19 to 29, respectively, but the hitting percentages ended up close at .238 to .217, respectively. 

The defense for UCLA was strong, as they had 75 digs and 11 blocks in the match.

After falling behind two sets to one, it looked as if UCLA had their opposition on the ropes. Despite this momentum, the Cougs came out hot and jumped out to an early 11-4 lead and had all the momentum they needed from there to take the set to even it up. 

Knotted up at two sets a piece, it all came down to a fifth and final set. That set started strong for the Bruins, coming out with a 4-1 lead early. 

Although falling behind, WSU quickly turned it around and went on a 5-0 run to take a 6-5 lead before the Bruins took a timeout to stop the bleeding. It looked like a fight to the end, as the teams were even at 11 points each.

That was not the case, as the Bruins won the following four points to cap off a 5-0 run and a 3-2 match win over the Cougs. 

On an individual basis, several Cougs had outstanding performances. Pia Timmer had 23 kills to lead the team, which was more than double the total of any other Coug. She put up a .268 hitting percentage and added nine digs on the night. 

Laura Jansen had a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs, getting it done on both sides of the ball for the team. 

Magda Jehlarova led the team in blocks, of which she had 10, splitting between solo blocks and assisted blocks. She also had nine kills and two digs to keep her production solid all around. 

Jehlarova also made history during the match, as her fourth kill of the night put her into second-place all-time in career blocks in program history. This accomplishment is outstanding and shows the dedication that she has put into the program and the dominance she has shown in her time in Pullman. 

Argentina Ung did not have her sharpest passing game, but she was a part of all aspects of the game for WSU. She had 40 assists, seven kills, one service ace, nine digs and two blocks on the night, being an all-around productive guru for the team once again. 

In one of the most impressive performances for the team, Libero and vocal leader Karly Basham added eight assists of her own but more important had 22 digs to lead the team. Basham kept the team alive in several vital moments, but it was not enough to push them over the hump.

It was the final match before the big rivalry game and Apple Cup against Washington. While the team was hoping to be on a hot streak going in, recent matches prove the Cougs are legit and will be ready for UW and the NCAA Tournament.

WSU will host UW in the Apple Cup at 6 p.m. on Friday at Bohler Gym.