Volleyball splits series with No. 18 UCLA

Cougars win first match but drop second against 18th team in nation



Freshman middle blocker Jasmine Martin rises up for spike over defender.

KAT MCKINNEY-ROLEY, Evergreen reporter

No. 24 WSU took on the No. 18 UCLA Bruins this weekend. WSU walked away 1-1 overall between the two matches with finals of 3-2 and 3-1.

UCLA was the biggest challenge of WSU’s early schedule so far, as the Bruins are ranked the 18th team in the nation and the only ranked team the Cougars have faced this season.

During the first match on Thursday, sophomore outside hitter Pia Timmer led the Cougars with 15 kills. Sophomore opposite Alexcis Lusby followed with 14 kills, and redshirt sophomore outside hitter Kalyah Williams ended the match with 10 kills. Timmer also led WSU with two aces.

Redshirt sophomore and setter Hannah Pukis also lead the Cougars with 48 assists, while sophomore middle blocker Magda Jehlarova led WSU with five blocks. Senior outside hitter Penny Tusa and Timmer also led the Cougs with 11 digs.

“Hannah did a great job distributing out and hitters took care of the ball,” head coach Jen Greeny said.

After a tough 25-15 loss in the first set on Thursday, the Cougs came back to win the second set 25-16. The third set went into extra points with the Bruins coming out on top, 28-26. In the fourth set, the Cougs dominated and won 25-15 which led to a fifth and final set. The Cougs won the final set 15-9 and walked away from the first match with a win.

“A lot of times we could have folded,” Greeny said. “The resiliency and character of this team to bounce back like that and change and do the things we needed them to do.”

The Cougars were not as fortunate when they played the Bruins once again on Saturday, losing the second match 3-1.

Timmer led the Cougars in aces and kills, Pukis led in assists and digs, and Williams led the team with six blocks.

During both matches, UCLA opposite and outside hitter Mac May led the Bruins with kills and aces.

Overall, the WSU squad is a very young team with several freshmen and sophomores who are playing well against some of their older opponents.

“A youth movement, you’re not kidding on that one,” Greeny said. “To only have one senior and obviously we’ve been in that cycle since we took over the program with a couple of really good classes back-to-back.”

WSU volleyball will take on the University of Colorado in Pullman at 4 p.m. on Thursday and 11 a.m. on Saturday.