Cougs face No. 17 Northern Iowa

WSU will play Panthers two times over two days on rare Midwest road trip



WSU defense jumps to receive the ball during a game against the Utah Utes on Oct. 8, 2017 at Bohler Gym

COLIN CONNOLLY, Evergreen reporter

WSU volleyball looks to keep their hot start going as they head to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to face the University of Northern Iowa for a double header.

The Cougars started the season 2-0 after sweeping Virginia Commonwealth University and beating North Carolina State 3-1. Senior outside hitter Taylor Mims said the trip the team took to Europe over the summer really prepared them for their first few games.

“It helped us with different things we could work on individually and as a team before the season even officially started,” Mims said.

WSU is hopeful that the chemistry the team has developed will continue to help them in tough situations as the season goes on. Another factor the team hopes to keep rolling is the momentum they gained from the strong weekend performance.

Senior outside hitter McKenna Woodford said that although every weekend is a fresh start, a good weekend like the one they just had helps build their confidence going into the next match.

“It keeps us going, but when it’s over we move on to the next team and start preparing,” Woodford said.

Upcoming opponent Northern Iowa is coming off a weekend in which it beat two previously top-25 ranked teams and could prove to be a tough matchup for the Cougs.

Woodford said they are a solid program that handles other teams well by staying composed under pressure.

“They are well put together and don’t make very many errors,” Woodford said. “We really have to see what weaknesses we can expose.”

Exposing those errors can be even more difficult on the road. Mims said going on the road to face tough competition is a good experience for WSU because it prepares them for league play.

She said playing on a different court and having the crowd screaming in their faces all the time is hard but will end up being an advantage for them in the long run.

This weekend brings another unique situation to the team, because they play Northern Iowa on both Friday and Saturday. A rare occurrence, yet it is another opportunity for the Cougars to face adversity before competing against Pac-12 opponents.

Woodford said they will implement their developed game plan on Friday and see what happens from there to adjust for Saturday.

“You can make a better plan if the first one doesn’t succeed,” Mims said. “Based on what they’re good at, we can mix our lineup up accordingly.”

WSU is set to face Northern Iowa 4 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. Saturday, both at the McLeod Center.