Volleyball takes on Oregon teams at home

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

WSU Volleyball (13-5, 2-4) hosts Oregon (10-4, 3-3) and Oregon State (11-7, 1-5) this weekend in Bohler Gym.

The Cougars look to bounce back after dropping their last contest against No. 13 Utah on Sunday. After an 11-1 start to the season, WSU lost four of their last six games, with all four losses coming against teams ranked in the RPI top 25.

WSU faces another difficult home contest Friday against Oregon, ranked 15th in the AVCA Coaches’ poll and eighth in RPI.

The Ducks lost to No. 2 Stanford before beating University of California, Berkeley over the weekend. Oregon is third in the Pac-12 in hitting percentage (.275) and fourth in opponents hitting percentage (.187).

Oregon Head Coach Matt Ulmer praised WSU, calling Pullman a “hostile environment.”

“They are a really big, physical blocking team so we will need to climb the ladder and bring our energy,” Ulmer said.

“Big and physical” has described the Cougars all season long. WSU leads the Pac-12 in opponent hit percentage at .167. Their blocks per set (3.14) is second in the Pac-12 and fourth in the country.

Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Jocelyn Urias has lead the Cougars at the net all season. The 6-foot-3-inch athlete from Tijuana, Mexico, leads the conference with 102 blocks.

However, the Cougars has struggled offensively. Their .224 hit percentage is last in the Pac-12. Their kills per set (12.33) and assists (11.26) are both last in the conference as well.

After the loss to Utah, in which the Cougars posted a .197 hitting percentage, Head Coach Jen Greeny said her team needs to be more consistent. She said her players need to do their jobs and focus on the fundamentals.

The Cougars face Oregon State on Sunday, to wrap up their two-week home stand.

The Beavers enter Pullman having lost five of their last six games. While the Cougars have been on both ends of the stat sheet, Oregon State has stayed near the middle. Their .261 hit percentage is sixth in the conference. Their .200 opponent hit percentage is ninth in the conference.

Both games will be televised on Pac-12 Networks. Live streams of the matches are available on the WSU Athletics website.