WSU going dancing, set to face UNLV in round one 

Cougs vs. Rebels from San Diego

WSU+outside+hitter+Pia+Timmer+%28left%29+and+setter+Argentina+Ung+%28right%29+celebrate+after+scoring+a+point+during+an+NCAA+volleyball+match+against+UW%2C+Nov.+25.

COLE QUINN

WSU outside hitter Pia Timmer (left) and setter Argentina Ung (right) celebrate after scoring a point during an NCAA volleyball match against UW, Nov. 25.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Evergreen reporter

WSU Volleyball (22-9, 14-6 Pac-12) is going dancing for the seventh straight season. After a third-place finish in the conference, the Cougs got a bid and a relatively decent seeding position for the 2022 NCAA Tournament. 

In their first match, they will be playing against the UNLV Rebels (26-4, 17-1 Mountain West). The match will be played on the campus of San Deigo State University in Jenny Craig Pavillion, as they are the No. 2 seed and host the first two rounds of matches. 

It is the seventh straight season that the Cougs will be heading to the tournament and for head coach Jen Greeny, it will be her 13th trip to the NCAA Tournament with WSU.

Before becoming head coach, she appeared in three-straight tournaments as a player (’95-’97) and once again made three-straight bids as an assistant coach (’00-’02), according to WSU Athletics.

It is not the first time that many members of the active roster will see the tournament, as every member of the starting lineup was on the roster last season, with most of them seeing playing time in either one or both of the matches played. 

Between Magda Jehlarova, Laura Jansen, Pia Timmer and Katy Ryan, the hitting of the 2022 WSU volleyball team is the fifth-best hitting percentage in the conference and Jehlarova holds the sixth-highest individual mark. 

While the tournament will be the last dance for Jansen in the crimson and gray. It will be a vital experience for every team member who will be returning in 2023.

The Cougs have been hot to end the season, as once they got ranked at No. 25, they have not left that position. 

Their opponent, UNLV, was the runner-up in the Mountain West Conference as they only lost their opening conference game in the regular season before going on a 17-game winning streak. 

In their most recent match, they lost in the Moutain West Conference Championship game to Utah State 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-21).

Despite the impressive record, their strength of schedule pales in comparison to the Cougs, as the difference between the Pac-12 and the Moutain West is substantial in volleyball. 

However, in the history of the matchups between these two schools, the Rebels hold the advantage. In four total matches, UNLV is 4-0, with each being played in Nevada. 

There is also recent history, as in 2021, the Rebels took down the Cougs 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-19, 25-22). It was the fourth straight loss for the team to open their season and they were still struggling with getting in a rhythm. 

For the Cougs, their most recent match was a sweep of their rival Washington in the Apple Cup 3-0 (27-25, 27-25, 25-20). 

Over the course of the 2022 season, WSU has hit .281 and held their opponents to .207, with the Rebels having percentages of .261 and .187, respectively. 

In many statistical aspects, the Cougs hold an advantage and have played against tougher opponents, but with how the tournament plays out, anything can happen. 

With every game being win-or–go-home, the pressure is on for the Cougs. Despite the pressure, the coaching staff is confident in the ability of the team to prove itself as one of the best teams in the nation. 

“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. 

The match will be played at 5 p.m. Thursday at Jenny Craig Pavilion in San Diego.