The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Setting the Standard: Argentina Ung’s Impact on WSU Volleyball

Cougs’ biggest improver over past two seasons
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EMMA DECASA
Argentina Ung gets ready to set the ball for her teammates in a match against USC, Nov. 12, in Pullman, Wash.

When it comes to WSU volleyball, one thing is for certain — Argentina Ung touches the ball every play.

Ung is the starting setter for the WSU volleyball team. The six-foot setter, majoring in Digital Technology and Culture, hails from Sonora, México. She attended Instituto Anglo-Mexicano, holding a 4.0 grade point average, while competing in indoor and beach volleyball.

Ung grew up in a volleyball family, as both of her parents are volleyball coaches and former players of the game. When she was nine, her father created a volleyball club in Mexico so she and her sister could play. Up until she arrived at WSU, her father had been her only coach her whole life.

Growing up, she looked up to fellow Pac-12 star Samantha Bricio from Guadalajara, Mexico, who played for USC from 2012—2015. Ung said she realized her talents were something special when she started playing for the under-18 Mexican National Team, but she and her father were not the only ones who saw her potential.

Burdette Greeny, WSU associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, traveled to both Mexico and Egypt to watch Ung play and she said he was a key reason she chose to come to Wazzu. He said he heard about her through a contact and found out she would be playing in Mexico, so he traveled down for recruitment.

“I remember watching Arge for the first time and going, ‘There’s something here; this kid’s athletic,’” he said.

Burdette Greeny recorded video footage and sent it back to the coaches in Pullman. They replied that they liked what they saw from her. By the end of the match, he was sold. He went through contacting her parents and meeting with Ung and her family. Luckily, they were in town. He said he made sure to keep in contact with her throughout the season.

After a few months, he heard Ung would play in Egypt with the Mexican National Team. It was during WSU’s season, but the coaches made the decision that she was an essential player to them to try to get. Burdette Greeny traveled in between weekends and non-conference matches to fly over to Egypt to watch her. Seeing Burdette Greeny follow her around the world, Ung said she realized their commitment to her as a player, making the decision to come play for WSU an easy one.

Through her first season, Ung had a smaller role in the team’s success as the role of starting setter was filled, only appearing in 13 sets. After working hard in practices, she saw her playing time increase her sophomore year, playing in 22 of the team’s 32 matches according to the Pac-12 website. While she did see more action, she learned how to best support and cheer on her teammates from the sidelines when she did not get that playing time.

For Ung’s first two years, she was not alone in a new country. Her sister, Grecia Ung-Enriquez, found a path in volleyball close by for LCSC in Lewiston, Idaho, about forty-five minutes south of Pullman. Ung-Enriquez traveled up to Pullman on multiple occasions to watch Argentina play or just spend quality time together. This helped Ung in her first few seasons, as having family close by was comforting for her.

On the topic of family, Ung’s parents still live in Mexico, making it difficult to visit or watch their daughter play. Luckily, WSU plays multiple teams from Arizona throughout their season, giving her parents, her biggest supporters, the opportunity to watch her play in her collegiate career.

A setter growing up, Ung found herself in different roles during her first two seasons in Pullman. She saw action all over the court, most notably starting on the right side, sprinkling in some appearances as an outside hitter and middle blocker. She filled in wherever needed. Her time spent playing other positions on the court helped develop her skills outside of setting and helped her get to know the game better. understand what’s happening, and understand the other players.

“Just to get to play each role, I kind of understand my teammates too,” Ung said. “I feel like that has helped me as a setter, that I understand what situations are good and bad for them, just because I’ve been there before.”

With this knowledge and experience gained in Ung’s first few years, it gave her the tools as she transitioned into the role of starting setter in her junior year. Coming into the season, she knew it would be a difficult role to fill. The 2021 team finished with a record of 20-12, including an NCAA Tournament appearance. Expectations were high.

After a second-round exit to Baylor in the 2021 season, WSU returned home and life went on as normal — except for Ung.

“Are you ready to be the starting setter?” Head coach Jen Greeny’s words resonated with Ung, as she was told that it was her time to shine.

“It was a lot of learning, a lot of hard work,” Ung said. “I had to be very patient with myself.”

The position of setter requires leadership both on and off the court. Ung found a balance of dictating the offense, pushing her teammates in the weight room, and staying ahead with her academics. Her teammates are some of her biggest support systems at WSU and accepted her filling in that leadership role.

“She’s just one of those players that wants to get better and wants to do well for her teammates, and I don’t think she has reached her peak yet,” Jen Greeny said.

In preparation for her new role, Ung put in the extra effort she knew would be required to meet the expectations of a starting setter. She showed up one hour before practice and stayed one hour after, working with the team’s setting coach. During off days, she could be found getting in extra reps in the weight room. She knew that her extra work would pay off at the end of the day, and it did.

In her junior and senior years, Ung accumulated over 2,000 assists, averaging over 10 assists per game. Her work in other positions from previous years helped her collect 326 kills, 564 digs, 204 total blocks, and nearly 50 service aces over her WSU career. She finished the 2023 season third in the Pac-12, averaging 10.43 assists per set. She helped lead WSU to records of 23-10 and 24-7 in the 2022 and 2023 seasons, respectively, with two NCAA Tournament appearances. WSU posted a school record No. 4 ranking in the ACVA rankings for three weeks in a row.

During the summers, Ung plays for the Mexican National Team, helping her maintain peak volleyball form for the season. She lives and breathes volleyball, allowing herself to be ready for fall camp once school starts back up again. While she’s played in front of thousands of people, she said there’s something about Bohler Gym that holds a special place in her heart.

While the school has never allowed Ung to participate in the Olympic qualifiers, she aims to play and qualify for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. In addition to her sights set on the Olympics, she hopes to play professional volleyball, specifically looking at Europe and Puerto Rico as potential destinations. Her volleyball career is not over post-college, but her legacy left at WSU will be remembered for years to come.

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About the Contributors
EVAN CHARNEY, Evergreen reporter
EMMA DECASA, Evergreen photographer
Emma Decasa is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. Originally from Issaquah, Washington, she is a junior majoring in Advertising, with a minor in Sports Communication. Emma started working for the Daily Evergreen in the fall of 2023.