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

Sweet 16 bound: Cougs take down Dayton in four

Magda Jehlárová has career-defining performance
WSU middle blocker Lana Radakovic cries joyfully after defeating Dayton in an NCAA second-round matchup 3-1,

In a career of many records and accolades, Magda Jehlárová’s second-round showing against Dayton in the 2023 NCAA Tournament will stand among the very best single-match performances. 

Entering this season and reiterated many times throughout, the goal was to get past the second round and into the Sweet 16. After four years of failing to do so, she was hungry to get over the hump. Leading her team against a team with only two losses all year, she accomplished that goal.

“Honestly, I just kept looking at the wall right behind us and just saw second round, second round, second round, and I was like, ‘There is not going to be another banner to say second round,’” Jehlárová said. “I am incredibly proud of our team.” 

Jehlárová finished the match with a double-double, first with 15 kills, all without an error, hitting .750% to lead all played by nearly a full .300%. She added 10 blocks, a new career-best for the NCAA Tournament and the second time she has broken double-digit blocks this season. Her first of her 10 officially made her the all-time Pac-12 leader in career blocks, so she is leaving a definite mark in the record books when this season is all said and done. 

It was a career-defining moment and it proved that she is good enough to get past the second round, the one thing she had not done to this point in her illustrious career. 

“In the end, I got really emotional because I was so proud of everyone on the team,” Jehlárová said. 

Her performance was vital in the win, a 3-1 (25-21, 25-15, 20-25, 25-16) victory for No. 4 seed WSU volleyball (26-7) over No. 5 seed Dayton (32-3). In the trio of sets the Cougs won, they never trailed, only a single time ever even tied. After getting their lead, they maintained momentum and dominated. 

Dayton was the best team in the country at the service line entering the match but did not pick up an ace in the opening set. While they finished with five, they were admittedly too passive at the line. 

“I think we were scared in moments. I think we were just trying to get in a play,” Amelia Moore said. 

Although statistically, they did pick it up a bit, the Cougs certainly felt the pressure. After the opening set, the Flyers’ serves more consistently got the WSU serve-receive off balance, making their offensive attack less consistent and making it harder to flow, but the Cougs adjusted.

“Dayton is a fantastic team. They really put pressure on us from the service line,” Greeny said. 

After hitting .300% as a team in the first set, the Cougs got even better. Hitting .357% in the second set, they never let the Flyers defense get set. Even when they could, WSU was ready for the counter. 

With 18 digs and four blocks as a team, their defense also improved in the second set, as their 25-15 route of Dayton made it seem like a sweep was imminent. 

But, Dayton came in winners of 27 straight for a reason. They had heart and stayed within themsevles despite the daunting task of a potential reverse sweep. Hitting .323% in the third set, they had newfound aggression they used to their advantage to steal a set and deny the sweep attempt from WSU.

“I like how we played in set three, in a close-out game. We needed to carry that momentum into set four and we didn’t do that,” Dayton head coach Tim Horsmon said. 

Bouncing back, the Cougs hit their best in the fourth set. A .412% performance as a team that brought their match total to .290%, improving what has already been a program record-setting season. 

“Really proud of what we’ve accomplished. It was a little up and down at times this year but the way we have responded is really special,” Greeny said. 

While it may have looked easy, the Flyers made it certainly difficult for the Cougs. Setter Argentina Ung said that coming in, the team knew they had to find creative ways to get points. 

“Of course, we know a scrappy team is always frustrating, but all credit to our hitters that they were putting the ball away as fast as they could,” Ung said. 

Ung finished the match a factor in every single level. She had 42 assists, eight digs, seven blocks, a service ace and five kills, all while having just one attack error and one service error. She kept the Cougar offensive train running, and they quickly became a runaway.

Pia Timmer had yet another double-double to add to her collection, finishing the win with 12 kills and 11 digs, hitting .235% in the process. Iman Isanovic was not far behind, building off her 16 kills against GCU with 11 more against Dayton.

After their back-to-back to open the NCAA Tournament, the Cougs have a mini break to recover and travel to their next site. Up next, at 11:30 Thursday, the Cougs will infiltrate Pittsburgh to take on the hosting and No. 1-seeded Panthers in the Sweet 16.

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About the Contributors
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2023 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.