Cougs Go Five Sets With Gamecocks
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 18 ranked Washington State Cougars began the 2021 fall season on the road against the Gamecocks of South Carolina, where USC took down WSU in a five-set thriller of a match.
Set scores from the match were: 25-20, 27-25, 13-25, 21-25, and 13-15 in favor of South Carolina (1-0, 0-0 SEC).
The opening set of the new season between these high-profile programs saw a tightly contested battle early, with a total of eight ties leading up to a 10-10 deadlock. The Cougars (0-1, 0-0 Pac-12) began to catch a bit of fire with four consecutive points anchored by kills from Penny Tusa, Pia Timmer, and Hannah Pukis, to hold down the 12-10 advantage. WSU began finding more separation midway through set one, posting a 3-0 run with multiple kills from Magda Jehlářová for a 17-13 lead, and would force a Gamecocks timeout. WSU continued to lead South Carolina throughout the remainder of this first set, posting yet another run of 4-1 late to take a 24-19 lead. The Gamecocks would see multiple errors down the stretch and the Cougs finished off USC with a final kill from Tusa for the 25-20 set victory.
The Cougs began set number two with a bit of an edge, jumping out to a quick 6-4 advantage with some help from both Katy Ryan and Timmer offensively. These two squads traded small runs shortly after, leading up to the score being knotted up at 10-10 overall. USC and WSU continued trading points throughout the midway point of set two, until the Cougs found an opening with a 4-1 scoring run as Pia Timmer totaled multiple kills and an ace to lead 17-15. Washington State found some more rhythm with a quick 3-0 run as Tusa posted three consecutive kills for a 21-18 lead and forced South Carolina to take a timeout. The Gamecocks countered with a run of their own and ultimately forced a WSU timeout at 23-23 late in this second set of play. The hot hand of Penny Tusa continued late into this second set as well with the fifth-year senior capping off her second straight set with a kill for the Cougs to capture the 27-25 win.
South Carolina shot out of the gate with some intensity to being set three, posting a 4-0 scoring run to force an early WSU timeout. USC continued to control the momentum early in set three, as another run of 5-1 saw the home squad up 12-5 over the Cougs. Washington State looking to regroup midway through the set took timeout number two as South Carolina led 14-6. The Gamecocks would not let their lead slip away, and ultimately took set three at 25-13 overall.
Washington State began set four explosively as Karly Basham delivered an ace to get the momentum back on the side of the Cougars. WSU kept the pressure on USC early, posting a 5-1 scoring run overall as kills from Tusa and Ryan found the other side of the floor. The Cougar run also forced a Gamecock timeout at 6-3 as well. WSU continued to control the set, increasing the lead up to 13-9 overall with some help from Tusa and Jehlářová kills. USC began to chip away at the Cougar lead however, building a scoring run of 4-1 to trail WSU just 14-13 midway through the fourth set. The Cougs maintained a slim lead late into the set, seeing huge plays being made from another Hannah Pukis ace to Tusa recording yet another kill to see South Carolina take a timeout at 21-18 in favor of WSU. The Gamecocks would fight right back into this contest, posting seven straight points to take the set at 25-21.
South Carolina found its rhythm once again to begin set number five, posting a scoring run of 5-1 to force a WSU timeout and hold down a 7-3 lead. A pair of errors saw the Cougs close the gap to just 8-5, but USC answered right back with two straight points of their own on back-to-back kills, forcing yet another WSU timeout at 10-5. The Cougs were not going down without a fight, posting a 4-1 scoring run to force the Gamecock timeout after a Jasmine Martin block, putting the set five score at 11-9 overall. The Cougars found themselves just down one point out of the timeout at 11-10, but South Carolina maintained just a slim enough lead, and the momentum of the capacity crowd inside the Carolina Volleyball Center fueled the home squad to a five set win over Washington State.
INTO THE TWITTER-VERSE
— Cougar Volleyball (@WSUCougarVB) August 27, 2021
- Penny Tusa had herself a match, posting career-high 22 kills, along with recording a double-double of 11 digs. Tusa also hit .429 overall in the contest.
- Katy Ryan posted a solid debut in her first collegiate match, recording eight kills, on 14 swings, hitting .357 overall. Ryan tallied two total blocks as well.
- Hannah Pukis orchestrated the offense with 50 total assists, along with adding four kills, four blocks, and seven digs to her stat line.
- Washington State returns to action tomorrow, Saturday, August 28 in a neutral site contest against the No. 9 ranked Panthers of Pittsburgh inside the Carolina Volleyball Center from Columbia, S.C. First serve is slated for 9:30 a.m. (PT) as well.