Cougs pounce on puppies of UW 

Apple Cup season series split after WSU sweep

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WSU recognizes senior outside hitter Laura Jansen before an NCAA volleyball game against UW, Nov. 25.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Evergreen reporter

In the final game of the 2022 volleyball regular season, the Apple Cup was played in Pullman. It was also senior night for one Coug, Laura Jansen. 

No. 25 WSU volleyball (21-9, 13-6 Pac-12) hosted their bitter rival, No. 24 Washington (19-9, 11-7) in front of a record-breaking and sold-out crowd of 3,005. It was the largest crowd that Bohler Gym has seen since its remodel.

In a sweep, the Cougs took the win 3-0 (27-25, 27-25, 25-20). 

Head Coach Jen Greeny said she felt as if the crowd really helped in getting the Cougs the win, especially in the close first two sets. 

“I think when I played was the last crowd this big. Kudos to the fans who are in town for coming out,” she said. 

It was the second iteration of the Apple Cup of the season, as in their first meeting, UW swept the Cougs 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-22) on their home court. With Friday’s results, the two teams split the 2022 Apple Cup, winning their matches on their respective home courts. 

With this being the year’s final home game, it was also time to commemorate the senior class. Although, only a single Coug was honored in the pregame ceremony. Jansen’s year as a Coug was commemorated on the night.

The reason for only one Coug being commemorated is the fact that the other five seniors, Julia Norville, Weronika Wojdyla, Magda Jehlarova, Pia Timmer and Karly Basham, are all coming back for their fifth year. These five have unfinished business and will utilize this fifth year to prove that WSU is the best in the Pac-12. 

“I think it was almost like an all-or-nothing situation. We are building something with this program and we feel like we are going to finish off strong and have one of the best seasons ever,” Basham said. 

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WSU volleyball players celebrate after sweeping UW, Nov. 25.

With both teams coming in ranked and with the hopes of making an NCAA Tournament bid, a win against their rival was a perfect way to end the season for the Cougs. 

From the jump, it was an intense match and the crowd was deeply invested. The sold-out crowd erupted when the Cougs took the lead and after every point, they won. It was a back-and-forth first set that was tied all the way at 25-25. 

WSU finally took control, where they won two straight points on a Jansen kill and a UW attack error and won the set 27-25. Winning the first set is always important, but even more for WSU. Entering this match, the team was 17-1 when winning the first set.  

Katy Ryan led the way in the first set as she led the team with seven kills on nine attacks. With zero errors, her attack percentage for the first set was .778. Ryan was the catalyst of the offensive attack and helped the Cougs secure the first set. 

“This match, especially they were keying on Magda, especially Katy Ryan, put a hole in the floor with a couple of those swings. She got us off to a hot start,” Greeny said. 

Competitiveness was not lost in the second set of the match as, once again, the teams were stuck at 25 a piece. WSU had the Huskies on match point with a 24-21 lead, but a quick UW run quickly erased that and gave the Huskies a 25-24 lead.

After a timeout to regroup themselves, the Cougs came out on fire, scoring the next three points to win the second set and take a 2-0 lead. Two straight solo blocks from Jehlarova secured the win and had Bohler creating an earthquake with its applause.

Securing that 2-0 lead was a near-guaranteed win for the Cougs, who coming in, were 14-0 in matches where they had a set advantage. 

In the third set, WSU held the lead for an extended stretch, culminating in a 25-20 set win and a sweep against their in-state rivals. 

“Going in the postseason, this was just an incredible win,” Greeny said. 

In the win, Jansen, on her senior night, led in kills with 15 and had a .243 hit percentage. Timmer was second with 14 kills and added 10 digs for a double-double. Ryan built off her strong start to end with 12 kills and finished with a .632 hit percentage. 

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WSU volleyball players high-five fans after sweeping UW, Nov. 25.

Argentina Ung had 41 assists and 10 digs of her own, being the second Coug to finish with a double-double. 

Despite a slow offensive day, Jehlarova had eight blocks, with several coming at key times and directly leading to set wins. 

With the win and the regular season officially closing, the Cougs look forward to Sunday and the NCAA Tournament selection. If they are selected, it will be the seventh straight season where they make the tournament, with the previous two seasons ending in the second round. 

“We knew we needed so many wins to get into the tournament. The team did a great job with that pressure and I’m confident in our play,” Greeny said. 

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WSU outside hitter Pia Timmer spikes the ball during an NCAA volleyball match against UW, Nov. 25.

With the regular season ending, players are dealing with injuries and fatigue more than ever. But to make a run, they must push through their pain and make one final effort.

“I look around and I want to push through and work hard for them. Even with Burdette’s situation and everything and he is still coming through. We feed off his fight and determination,” Basham said. 

The NCAA D-I Volleyball Tournament Selection Show will at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, on ESPNU.

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WSU outside hitter Pia Timmer (left) and opposite Katy Ryan (right) celebrate after sweeping UW, Nov. 25.