WSU heads to Cali for Sweet Sixteen

Cougars face Cardinal for third time this season, winner advances to Elite Eight in NCAA tourney



Senior defensive specialist Abby Phillips celebrates after scoring a point off a successful rally in the game against Tennessee on Saturday in Bohler Gym. After beating Tennessee, the Cougars advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2002.

COLIN CONNOLLY, Evergreen reporter

After two huge wins at home, No. 16 WSU women’s volleyball is heading to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. The Cougars (23-9, 12-8) will face No. 1 Stanford on Friday for the third time this season.

The Cougars got to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament, facing Northern Arizona and Tennessee and winning both 3-1 in front of an electric home crowd in Bohler Gym. Although the team has to travel away from home now, it isn’t going somewhere completely new.

The Cardinal (30-1, 20-0) beat the Cougars in their first two matches this year 3-0 and 3-1, but senior outside hitter McKenna Woodford said that having traveled to Maples Pavilion and faced Stanford before is an advantage.

“We know what their gym is like,” Woodford said. “We know what the team is like.”

Head Coach Jen Greeny said the team just wants to keep taking another step forward and see how far this can go.

She said everybody knows how incredible Stanford is as a team, but it helps that the Cougars are going to a familiar place and staying in the same time zone, two positives most teams don’t get this time of year.

Greeny said she thinks WSU has probably the toughest regional in the Sweet Sixteen, but there is a lot of talent everywhere.

“Anytime you’re in the Sweet Sixteen you’re going to have tough competition,” Greeny said.

Stanford has had only one loss this year as it fell 3-2 to Brigham Young University in the team’s third match of the year. The Cougars will look to keep their season alive and give Stanford its second defeat this season.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times in a row,” Woodford said. “We’ll see what we can do.”

WSU is set to face the Cardinal 5:30 p.m. Friday at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, California. The game can also be viewed on ESPN 3.