NCAA Volleyball Tournament bound

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NCAA Volleyball Tournament bound

WSU sophomore middle blocker Taylor Mims looks for a kill against Arizona State University in a match played on Nov. 11.

WSU sophomore middle blocker Taylor Mims looks for a kill against Arizona State University in a match played on Nov. 11.

WSU sophomore middle blocker Taylor Mims looks for a kill against Arizona State University in a match played on Nov. 11.

WSU sophomore middle blocker Taylor Mims looks for a kill against Arizona State University in a match played on Nov. 11.

From staff reports

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The No. 25 WSU women’s volleyball team (21-11, 11-9) earned an NCAA Volleyball Tournament bid and will travel to Madison, Wisconsin, to take on the Marquette Golden Eagles (23-8) in the first round today.

The Golden Eagles will be making their sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament. Leading the way for Marquette is redshirt sophomore outside hitter Taylor Louis, who averages 4.44 kills-per-set (ranked 19th in the NCAA). Senior libero Lauren Houg leads the Golden Eagles defensively with 4.49 digs-per-set, putting her at second place in the Big East conference.

MU has advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament three times in the past, including last season when they defeated Northern Iowa before falling to No. 2 seed Minnesota. This year they are tied for second place in the Big East conference at (13-5) in conference play.

WSU sophomore middle blocker Taylor Mims is currently tied for sixth in the NCAA for blocks at 1.52 blocks-per-set. WSU sophomore middle blocker Claire Martin follows Mims closely at blocks per set, averaging 1.45.

WSU as a team is also third in the nation for blocks at 3.30 bps. Senior outside hitter Kyra Holt has recorded 450 kills this season for the Cougars at 3.72 kps and averaging 2.27 dps. Following behind Holt is sophomore outside hitter McKenna Woodford at 2.43 kps.

WSU Head Coach Jen Greeny believes the Cougars’ biggest strength is their blocking. Where MU excels in kills, they lack in blocking; their top blocker is redshirt sophomore middle blocker Jenna Rosenthal (1.26 bps).

This is the 11th trip to the NCAA Tournament for the WSU volleyball program and the first under the coaching of Greeny, who just received the Pac-12 Conference Volleyball Coach of the Year award. Holt was also selected to the All-Pac-12 Volleyball First Team while fellow teammates Mims and junior outside hitter Casey Schoenlein were selected for the Honorable Mention Team.

The Cougars will face off against the Golden Eagles at 3 p.m. today The match will be broadcast on www.ncaa.com. The winner of this year’s first round will face off against the winner of the No. 3 seed and host Wisconsin/Howard match for the second round at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Reporting by Jesse Woodhead