Volleyball Loses Heartbreaking Five-Game Match at Oregon State

Sept. 21, 2007

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The Washington State volleyball team lost a heart-breaking opening match of the Pac-10 season Friday night at Gill Coliseum, as the Beavers broke a 19-match conference loss streak that stretched over two seasons with a 32-30, 30-32, 25-30, 30-21, 16-14, win over WSU.

WSU drops to 9-6 overall, 0-1 in Pac-10 while Oregon State improved to 8-5 overall, 1-0 in league.

The Cougs were led by the 20 kills from Adetokunbo Faleti while Jackie Albright added 18 kills and Brittany Johnson contributed 17 kills. Tara West had 10 kills and five blocks and Cassie Robins added five blocks. Any Small had a match-high three aces as the Cougs landed nine service aces and kept OSU at zero. Maureen Perez had a career-high 66 assists. Kelly Hyder tallied 32 digs, just two off her career-best and three from the school record.

Rachel Rourke and Kristin Murray combined for 44 kills to lead OSU. Jill Sawatzky added 18 kills while Bree Knitter had 10 kills and six blocks. Ashley Evans had 23 digs and the Beavs out-dug the Cougs 87 to 75. Setter K.C. Walsh had 64 assists.

'We played with composure, even when we made errors we came right back and played as a team,' WSU Head Coach Brian Heffernan said. 'I think we made too many careless mistakes out there on the floor, especially early on as we squandered game one and had we not done that we could have won in three. In terms of execution, that needs to improve but I was pleaser with our athletes' composure tonight.'

WSU opened game with a 16-10 lead when OSU countered with five unanswered points and left the Cougs with a slight lead, 16-15. WSU extended its lead to 23-17 but the Beavers came out of a timeout and scored seven of the next eight points to tie the game at 24 points each. After trading points until 29-all, WSU put up a big block by Robbins and Perez to serve for game, 30-29. OSU countered with kills from Murray and Walsh and a Cougar hitting error gave the Beavs the 32-30 win. OSU collected six blocks in the first game and Faleti had six kills.

Oregon State carried the momentum from the first game win by taking the early lead in game two, 20-18, but the Cougars battled back with a 10-3 run and took the lead 28-23. The Beavs laced three consecutive points before Johnson and Robbins combined on a block to put WSU serving for game at 29-26. OSU's Rourke scored two of their next three points to knot the game at 29. After a Cougar timeout, Albright's hitting error tied up the game at 30. Three offensive errors by Oregon State handed WSU the 32-30 game win.

A pair of five-point runs by the Cougs in the middle of game three put the visitors up 20-11. After the Beavers replaced starting setter junior K.C. Walsh with sophomore Camilla Ah-Hoy, OSU made a slow climb back intro the game, and then caught fire with four unanswered points, down 28-24. WSU closed out the 30-25 win with kills from West and Faleti. WSU hit .275 in the game and held OSU to its lowest percentage of the night, .174.

Game four was tight until OSU's Sawatzky landed five kills late in the game to lead the Beavers to a 30-21 win. OSU hit .429 as a team.

Game five had six ties until Oregon State went up 7-6. The Cougars reeled off six of the next seven points to take a 12-8 lead. After a Beavers timeout, OSU took three of the next four points but a monster kill from West put Albright on the service line for the match. Murray's kill and a block by Walsh tied the game at 14. West's final attack went long and after a long rally, Sawatsky landed a kill for the 16-14 win.

Washington State takes on No. 24 Oregon, a Friday night 3-2 loser to No. 8 Washington, Saturday night at Eugene.

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