Cougars look to remain undefeated

By Brett Gleason, Evergreen Volleyball reporter

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The Washington State University volleyball team ventures into Texas this weekend, bringing a 7-0 record along with them.

The Cougars will look to keep their record unblemished as they compete in the Sam Houston Invitational in Huntsville, Texas. Also at the tournament will be Jackson State (1-7), Lamar (1-8) and host Sam Houston State (2-5).

WSU is coming off their second tournament victory in as many opportunities this season. In the Cougar Challenge Tournament last weekend, the Cougs swept three of their four matches.

“Well I think we’re playing pretty well right now,” WSU Head Coach Jen Greeny said in a press conference. “(Nonconference) is great; we get to work a lot of the kinks out and things like that. But right now overall I think we’re playing really well.”

The Cougs are undefeated but still improving; a key to being successful once Pac-12 conference play begins.

“I think overall our team definitely improved on a lot of things we’re working on in practice,” junior middle blocker Ver’Leea Hardaway said in a press video. “From defense to offense to blocking, and so this weekend I think we’re trying to carry that onto who we play next.”

Hardaway drew her second all-tournament honors last weekend at the Cougar Challenge, this time coming away with the MVP title.

Through the Cougars’ seven matches, Hardaway leads the team in hitting percentage at .401 and is third in kills with 71.

The team leader in kills is freshman Kyra Holt with 100, good enough for 4.00 kills per set; Holt has also contributed 14 total blocks and 68 digs.

For her performance at the Cougar Challenge, Holt was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.

“Kyra has been performing extremely well,” Greeny said. “Really happy about the award she received from the Pac-12. And it really is a team award; volleyball is the ultimate team sport and so really credit to her teammates as well. But she will continue to get better as well, so that’s exciting.”

With their untarnished 7-0 record, WSU stands tied atop the Pac-12 with Utah through the first two weekends of play. Below the Cougars and Utes are six nationally ranked teams.

Holt is currently fifth in the Pac-12 in both kills per set (4.00) and points per set (4.70) while senior setter Camryn Irwin is fourth in assists per set (11.28) and senior middle hitter Marcelina Glab is fourth in blocks per set (1.32).

The Cougars start off the tournament by taking on Jackson State Friday, Sept. 13 at 2 p.m. followed by Lamar and Sam Houston State on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.