Volleyball continues Pac-12 play with Arizona

RYAN MOSHER | Evergreen reporter

WSU volleyball (11-2) travels to Arizona on Saturday to face off against the Wildcats. This will be the second match of conference play for both teams, as they only meet once this year.

WSU won both its matches against Arizona last season, sweeping the Wildcats 3-0 in their first meeting.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association top-25 poll includes seven Pac-12 teams. Neither the Cougars nor the Wildcats are included in that poll.

WSU just had its eight-game winning streak snapped Wednesday night after losing to University of Washington (11-1). The Cougars fell to the Huskies 3-1, by scores of 19-25, 18-25, 25-21 and 22-25. The match had 13 lead changes, and 28 tie scores.

Entering the game, the Cougs ranked second in the NCAA in blocking, with the Huskies right behind them in third. UW finished the match with 14 blocks, while WSU had 12. The two teams will meet again for the Cougars’ final game of the season.

Head Coach Jen Greeny stayed optimistic despite her team’s loss.

“I thought we came out of the game break really well,” Greeny said. “We started serving much better in the third and fourth sets, and I think that’s what we were really missing in the first two sets.”

Junior outside hitter Taylor Mims racked up 20 kills in the match, leading all players. She tied her career-high while junior middle blocker Ella Lajos led the match with seven blocks.

UW Head Coach Keegan Cook applauded the Cougars’ efforts after the game.

“Coming out of the break, WSU played with great effort and intensity,” Cook said. “It was a gritty battle from then on out.”

Despite the loss, WSU is still near the top of the Pac-12 standings with only two losses on the year. Last season, the team finished 22-12 and won a match in the initial round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in 14 years.

Before the Cougars can get back to the NCAA tournament, they will have to perform well in a competitive conference. The Arizona matchup is the second of 20 Pac-12 matches.

The game is set to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday in the McKale Center. Cougar volleyball supporters in Pullman can listen to all of the road matches on KQQQ-1150 AM.