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Cougar volleyball advances to second round of NCAA tourney

Four WSU players reached double digit kills in opening round match

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Cougar volleyball advances to second round of NCAA tourney

Then-Junior outside hitter Taylor Mims spikes the ball against Florida State University on Dec. 1.

Then-Junior outside hitter Taylor Mims spikes the ball against Florida State University on Dec. 1.

COURTESY OF WSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

Then-Junior outside hitter Taylor Mims spikes the ball against Florida State University on Dec. 1.

COURTESY OF WSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

COURTESY OF WSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

Then-Junior outside hitter Taylor Mims spikes the ball against Florida State University on Dec. 1.

RYAN MOSHER, Evergreen reporter

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WSU volleyball (18-15) defeated Florida State University (18-11) in the first round of the NCAA tournament in four sets Friday. The match was the first-ever meeting between the Cougars and the Seminoles.

“I’m very proud of this team for beating a very, very good Florida State team … it was a little shaky, we had to go to some extra points there in the first set,” WSU Head Coach Jen Greeny said. “We made some kind of silly errors in the third set and then got back to Cougar volleyball in the fourth set. Very proud of this team and just advancing.”

In the first set of the match, there was never a lead larger than four points. Eventually, WSU won a competitive first set 34-32.

The second set wasn’t as close as the first. The Cougars won the set 25-14.

FSU bounced back in the third set by taking their first set of the match 25-23. The Seminoles scored five straight points early in the match to make it 7-2.

In the fourth set of the match, WSU ended FSU’s championship hopes. After trading points to make the score 1-1, the Cougars would take the lead and hold it until the end to win the set 25-13 and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

WSU junior outside hitter Taylor Mims had 28 kills in the match. Sophomore libero Alexis Dirige and Mims both reached over 20 digs in the game with 25 and 22 respectively. As a team, WSU outscored the Seminoles by 28 points with the Cougars scoring 88 total points in the match.

Sophomore setter Ashley Brown said great passing all night helped four of the Cougars reach double-digit kills.

“I have to give credit to the passers on that one, and our defense, because you can’t hit that well and you’re hitting percentage can’t be that high without the first contact being good,” Brown said. “So that was awesome and that gave me an opportunity to be able to run my offense and set all three hitters, or two hitters if I’m in the front row, pretty much the entire time.”

WSU will face No. 5 University of Nebraska (27-4, 19-1) in the second round of the tournament. The match is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Complex in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Brown said the team is preparing for a hostile environment tomorrow on the Cornhuskers home court.

“I think we know that the atmosphere is going to be crazy, loud and exciting,” Brown said, “but I think that having a game underneath our belt in the lights and on that floor will help us a lot tomorrow.”

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Cougar volleyball advances to second round of NCAA tourney