Volleyball struggles on California road trip, drops two games

From staff reports

The Washington State volleyball team struggled in California over the weekend, losing a pair of games to No. 11 Stanford and California.


Freshman outside hitter McKenna Woodford was the lone bright spot in the Washington State volleyball team’s loss in straight sets to No. 11 Stanford (13-5, 7-3 Pac-12) by scores of 25-20, 25-20 and 25-19 at Maples Pavilion Friday night. Replacing the injured Kyra Holt, the Chandler, Arizona native recorded a career-high 18 kills for the Cougars (14-8, 3-7) and led the match in offensive production.

“I thought we had some good moments and some people stepped up,” WSU Head Coach Jen Greeny said in a press release. ”McKenna did a really nice job, especially as a freshman against a great Stanford team. She stepped up and took the passing role as well so I’m really proud of her performance offensively tonight.”

Junior setter Haley MacDonald tallied 26 assists and 12 digs while junior outside hitter Hailey Bethune contributed eight kills to the offensive attack. Sophomore outside hitter Casey Schoenlein led WSU with three blocks while freshman middle blocker Taylor Mims and freshman middle blocker Claire Martin contributed another two blocks each. Senior libero Kate Sommer added 10 digs.

WSU spread around its production as expected but was out-hit by the Cardinal all evening. Stanford hit .330 for the match compared to the Cougars .177 and out-blocked WSU 12 shots to six.

There were plenty of chances to secure control of the match for WSU in each set, but the Cardinal rallied near the midway point snuffed any momentum the team had. The Cougars led 10-9 early in the opening set before a timeout shifted control of possession in Stanford’s favor as they pulled a way for a 25-20 win.

There were three ties during the second set, but an unreal .452 hitting percentage by the Cardinal effectively secured another 25-20 victory. By far the most competitive of the three, the final set saw nine lead changes decided by five kills from Stanford’s Brittany Howard down the stretch to end the match with a 25-19 win for the Cardinal.

“We had too many errors, especially from the service line where that was our focus: to serve tough and get them out of their offense,” Greeny said. “We definitely missed far too many serves. There were times when we weren’t as aggressive as we could have been.”


The Cougars played a more competitive match on Sunday but dropped a conference game on the road to host California (8-13, 2-8) in set scores of 28-26, 25-19 and 26-24.

WSU had its fair share of chances to put the Golden Bears away in the first and third sets but was unable to finish off the opponent. In the opening set, the Cougars led 24-22 but could not earn the set point, trading points and tying at 25 and 26 prior to Cal’s 28-26 win on the third set point.

“We committed too many errors and offensively were not playing well and you are not going to win very many matches when you can’t put the ball away,” Greeny said. “At the end of the first set we were really tentative, I don’t know why, and when it comes down to it, we need players to make big plays and take big swings.”

Described as a ‘set of runs’ in postgame coverage, WSU again held a lead on the Golden Bears early in the set- a 14-10 mark that was erased when Cal went on a finishing run of its own to secure another come from behind win in a score of 25-19. The third set had 12 ties and six lead changes and saw the home team hit .244 in its 26-24 match-clinching set victory over the Cougars.

The Cougars were grossly out-paced by the Golden Bears, hitting .119 to their .240 and 36 kills compared to 50. Both teams recorded 12 blocks.

Playing without leading scorer Holt for the second consecutive game, the Cougars were led by the 13 kills of Woodford and eight kills from Bethune. Martin had seven kills and seven blocks while MacDonald added 28 assists and four blocks. Sommer led the Cougars with 14 digs.

Holt will be evaluated again early this week in preparation for WSU’s return to Bohler to face No. 5 UCLA and No. 1 USC on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

Reporting by Braden Johnson