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

Cougs to face Pitt in Sweet 16

WSU still dancing
WSU+women%E2%80%99s+volleyball+head+coach+Jen+Greeny+and+middle+blocker+Magda+Jehl%C3%A1rov%C3%A1+talk+to+reporters+during+a+press+conference+after+defeating+Dayton+in+an+NCAA+second-round+match+3-1%2C+Dec.+2%2C+2023%2C+in+Pullman%2C+Wash.WSU+women%E2%80%99s+volleyball+head+coach+Jen+Greeny+and+middle+blocker+Magda+Jehl%C3%A1rov%C3%A1+talk+to+reporters+during+a+press+conference+after+defeating+Dayton+in+an+NCAA+second-round+match+3-1%2C+Dec.+2%2C+2023%2C+in+Pullman%2C+Wash.
COLE QUINN
WSU women’s volleyball head coach Jen Greeny and middle blocker Magda Jehlárová talk to reporters during a press conference after defeating Dayton in an NCAA second-round match 3-1, Dec. 2, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.WSU women’s volleyball head coach Jen Greeny and middle blocker Magda Jehlárová talk to reporters during a press conference after defeating Dayton in an NCAA second-round match 3-1, Dec. 2, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

Back to business, No. 4 seed WSU volleyball (26-7) is away from Bohler and in Pittsburgh to take on No. 1 seed Pitt (24-7) for a chance to go the Elite 8. 

Pitt has been one of the best teams in the tournament through the first two weeks, winning the first two matches of their run while only dropping a set. In their first-round match against Coppin State, it was over from the very start. Pitt swept 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-9) and Copping State had more errors (23) than kills (14).

“I think this tournament has been a great one but pretty competitive all around in those first and second rounds,” head coach Jen Greeny said. “We’re built by design, we’re built for that resiliency, you know, we’ve played a lot of top 25 matches this year.”

Holding their opposition to hitting -.099% while hitting .289% themselves, their margin of victory was one of the best of the opening round. 

Three Panthers had double-digit kills, with Torrey Stafford had a double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs while hitting .550%. 

In their second-round matchup, Pitt found themselves in a bit of trouble early, even losing the first set to USC. Even being down in the second set, Pitt beat the Trojans 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-18).

Defense proved to be the key again for Pitt, holding their opposition to just .078% hitting. Skylar Fields had 21 kills and hit .200%, but the Trojans could not hold momentum throughout complete sets other than the opener. 

While the first two sets were not the best offensively for the Panthers, they hit .481% in the third set with only one attack error and hit .357% in the final set to close out the win. 

Out of all remaining tournament teams, Pitt has the lowest opposition hitting percentage. But, if any team is to challenge that notion, the offensive firepower of the Cougs is the team to do so. 

WSU has already taken down Grand Canyon and Dayton in the 2023 tournament. Against the Flyers, who came in as the best serving team in the country, the Cougs adapted their serve receive the morning of the match and implemented a winning strategy. 

Their second win of the tournament brought Greeny’s tournament record to 8-7, as well as improving her first-round record to 6-2 as a head coach. 

“The leadership of this team is top quality, our chemistry is great. A Coach’s dream to just say that,” Greeny said.

In the win over Dayton, Magda Jehlárová broke the Pac-12 career blocks record and Pia Timmer tied the WSU program record for career aces.

The Cougs are experienced and have as much talent top to bottom as any team, which they hope will be on full display against one of the best remaining teams in the tournament. 

“I think the secret is just to focus on ourselves because you can only control the controllable, and at this point in time, we can just control what is on our side of the net,” Iman Isanovic said.

WSU and Pitt will battle it out for an Elite 8 spot at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Pittsburgh, streamed live on ESPNU.

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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.