WSU volleyball declared winner of Missouri State Invitational

An eight-game winning streak and 11 wins overall places WSU at first place in the Pac-12


Courtesy of WSU Athletic Communications

Junior outside hitter Taylor Mims slaps the ball in a game against Chattanooga on Saturday. She led the team with 18 kills that day.

TYLER SHUEY, Evergreen columnist

WSU volleyball (11-1) continued their winning streak by breezing through opponents and claiming the Missouri State Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational.

Wins against Tennessee State University (4-9), Missouri State (8-5) and Chattanooga (7-7) puts the Cougs at first place in the Pac-12 before they start conference play at home against University of Washington (10-1) on Wednesday.

“You never know when you’re scheduling what it’s going to be like, but I think we got what we really wanted,” Head Coach Jen Greeny said. “During these four weeks, we have gained a ton of experience and gotten a lot better.”

WSU started the tournament, coasting to a 3-0 victory over Tennessee State on Friday morning — a win that notched Greeny’s 100th career victory. The Cougs were in for more of a fight later on that day when host Missouri State challenged them, before falling short in the fifth and final set.

“This was a very hard-fought win,” Greeny said after the game. “I thought we dug down deep and did some really good things against a very good team.”

The Bears are no stranger to winning. As a team, they notched 26 wins last year before losing to Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Missouri State gets through non-conference play at a respectable record, factoring in that they played three ranked opponents.

WSU wrapped up the Wynn Invitational with a quick turnaround the next morning against Chattanooga, starting strong and eventually cruising to another 3-0 victory over the Mocs.

Junior outside hitter Taylor Mims claimed MVP honors with her outstanding play throughout the tournament.

“Playing a 6 o’clock game at night and going to five sets, then playing an 11 a.m. game the next day is rough,” Mims said. “Obviously, we are tired but we needed to come together as a team and fight through it.”

The Cougars tied Illinois with three wins in the tourney, but the Illini lost one more set than WSU did. Those teams did not match up in the invitational.

Sophomore setter Ashley Brown and junior outside hitter McKenna Woodford joined Mims as three Cougar players made the All-Tournament Team.

“I think — especially with the absence of Casey Schoenlein this weekend — that we needed everyone to step up this weekend leadership-wise,” Greeny said. “All of the returners did a really nice job of taking on that leadership responsibility.”

Cougar volleyball now ramps up for a competitive Pac-12 schedule, opening up against in-state rival UW at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Bohler Gym. The Huskies are ranked seventh in the nation and something must give as both UW and WSU are entering the match with an eight-game winning streak.