Volleyball 2009 Season Highlighted by Return to NCAA Championship

Jan. 4, 2010

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COUGARS RETURN TO NCAA VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT: The Washington State volleyball team made its 10th appearance in the NCAA DI Women's Volleyball Championship Tournament...Cougars first appearance since 2002...first appearance under second-year WSU Head Coach Andrew Palileo...WSU was one of eight Pacific-10 Conference teams in the tournament - Stanford, Washington, UCLA, California, USC, Oregon, Arizona and Washington State...Big 12 and Big 10 Conferences each had six teams.

PALILEO NAMED PAC-10 VOLLEYBALL COACH OF THE YEAR: Andrew Palileo was named conference coach of the year after guiding the Cougars to their first winning season since 2002, and garnering six league wins, the most since 2002...inherited a program that hadn't won more than three conference matches in a year for four consecutive seasons...mentored the Cougars to an 18-13 overall record and into the 2009 NCAA Championship Tournament...only one 12 losses came to a team not ranked in top 18 nationally.

PAC-10 HONORS FOUR COUGAR PLAYERS: Seniors Renee Bordelon (setter, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) and Cassie Robbins (middle blocker, Yakima, Wash.) were named to the All-Pac-10 honorable mention team...Oceana Bush (libero, Spokane, Wash.) was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman first team and Rachel Todorovich (right side hitter, Walla Walla, Wash.) was named to the freshman honorable mention team.

COUGAR COACHING STAFF: Head Coach Andrew Palileo is in his second season at WSU after a highly successful tenure at South Dakota State...Palileo has a 28-32 overall record at WSU, and a 13-year career record of 267-173...associate head coach Brian Lamppa and assistant coach TeAna Tramel, both in their second years at WSU...Kara Kiefer is the coordinator of operations.


(Nat. Ranking)	Conference	Overall	StreakStanford $	        14-4	23-8	Lost 1Washington ##	        13-5	24-6	Lost 1UCLA ##	                13-5	24-9	Lost 1California $$	        11-7	21-11	Lost 1USC ##	                10-8	22-10	Lost 1Oregon ##	        9-9	20-10	Lost 1Arizona #	        8-10	19-11	Lost 3Washington State #	6-12	18-13	Lost 1Arizona State	        3-15	13-17	Lost 6Oregon State	        3-15	12-18	Lost 6

# - NCAA Tournament First Round; ## - NCAA Second Round$ - NCAA Regional Semi-final; $$ - NCAA Regional Final

PAC-10 COACHES 2009 PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: Washington (90 points) was selected by the Pac-10 volleyball coaches to be the league champions in the 2009 preseason poll...rest of the poll order was California (80), Stanford (74), UCLA (62), USC (60), Oregon (48), Arizona (42), Arizona State (34), Oregon State (31) and WSU (19)...the Pac-10 coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own teams (point system is 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2), have successfully predicted the league champion 13 of the last 21 years (through 2009 season).

'I think we took another step forward in turning the program around and getting the program going in a winning direction. As the coaching staff looks back at the season, getting to the NCAA tournament was exciting and a good accomplishment but it was especially exciting for the seniors who had been here four years. For them to experience the tournament at Nebraska, which has a good volleyball tradition and knowledgeable fans, was especially exciting.

'We talked all year about having the opportunity to get to the tournament and then preparing ourselves to get beyond that first round because I think we were a good enough team to be able to do that. It was disappointing not to be able to continue playing. The players' inexperience of playing with expectations and the inexperience of how to prepare at the end of the year to get to that point held us back a little bit.

'Hopefully, in the coming years we'll learn from this and use it toward getting beyond that first round. The younger players were disappointed and in shock that we didn't win the first round and that is the kind of reaction I want to see out of them. We talked about what kept us from moving on at the end of the year. And how to not get to the point where we're struggling at the end of the year so that next year we can do better because we worked on those things in the spring and summer.

'As we go through the process of having the team turn over with the departure of four seniors, we are going to do some different things system-wise during the spring to get us better in scoring points. The biggest area we are going to try and improve on is our serving so we can get more free points during matches. We are also going to work to get experience with our setters (incoming freshman Heather Wilson and 2010 junior Alex Diemer) and getting them to understand the system will be very important.'

WSU TRIO HONORED BY PAC-10 FOR ACADEMICS: Jackie Albright was named to the Pacific-10 Volleyball All-Academic second team and Cassie Robbins and Faith Hutcherson were named honorable mention...Albright, a senior OH from Lake Forest, Calif., has a 3.56 GPA in civil engineering...Robbins, a senior MB from Yakima, Wash., has a 3.35 GPA in hospitality business management, and Hutcherson, a junior defensive specialist from Redmond, Wash., has a 3.14 GPA in communication.

ESPN/CoSIDA ACADEMIC HONOR FOR ALBRIGHT: Senior OH Jackie Albright (Lake Forest, Calif.) was named to the 2009 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII first team for University Division as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA)...Albright has a 3.56 GPA, majoring in civil engineering.

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