Cougs set down VCU, 3-0, in Santa Barbara
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Washington State volleyball (5-4, 0-0 Pac-12) jumped on VCU (4-8, 0-0 A10) early and never looked back en route to another sweep on the road at the Thunderdome Classic, Saturday morning in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Set scores from the match were: 25-16, 25-19, and 25-21 in favor of the Cougars.
Blink and the quick start to the first set would be missed as the Cougs scored the first nine points of the match against VCU making use of the tough serve from Karly Basham and the presence of Magda Jehlarova in the middle to open up a massive lead. It would not be until the Cougs led 15-3 that the Rams would grab their first point of the match offensively as WSU held VCU to .000 hitting in the opening frame. Much of the work was done by Jehlarova who would finish the first stanza with four of her season-high seven blocks while adding three kills for good measure.
In the second set the Cougs would once again open up the frame, doubling up the Rams 8-4 early thanks to a pair of Pia Timmer kills while the big outside also added a block to the mix. As the Rams looked to remain in striking distance the Cougs created some separation midway through the set with a 3-0 run that pushed their lead to 16-10, essentially putting the set away once again. As the Cougs pulled away in the middle of the match it was Jehlarova once again providing the fire power as she came up with three kills and another block in a seven-point span that broke open the set. As they did in the first set the Cougs once again shutdown the Rams' offense this time holding VCU to negative hitting at -.024.
With the match in hand the Cougs looked to close out VCU with another sweep inside the Thunderdome. While the first two sets were essentially put away early the Cougs were forced to work for it in what would be the final set of the morning as the Rams took the early lead. Despite briefly trailing the Cougs would roll off five-straight points behind the serve of Penny Tusa as the senior lifted the Cougs back out front 10-8. The two teams would trade points through the middle of the set before a 3-0 run by the Cougs snatched the late momentum and put WSU on the verge of the win at 23-19. A pair of kills at the pins by Timmer and Tusa would finish off the match for the Cougs and send WSU into the night session of the Thunderdome Classic in search of another tournament title.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Magda Jehlarova led the Cougs in the middle as the third-year star came up with 10 kills on .412 hitting while producing a season-best seven blocks.
- The contest marked the second sweep of VCU all-time in the teams first meeting since 2018.
- The win marked the Cougs fifth-straight sweep and second-straight at the Thunderdome Classic.
- Hannah Pukis became the newest member of the 2,000 assist club when she recorded her 23rd assist on the first kill of the third set. She would finish the day with 34 assists giving her 2,011 all-time.
- Pia Timmer led the attack for the second-straight contest with 13 kills to go with 10 digs. It was her second double-double in the last three matches.
- Magda Jehlarova finished the day with 10 kills while Katy Ryan finished one shy of her season-high ending the match with eight kills on .467 attacking.
- Penny Tusa added a pair of aces to her all-time total moving into sole possession of seventh on the Cougs' all-time list with 116 aces.
- Defensively the Cougs held VCU to .078 hitting the third time in the last four matches WSU held its opponent to sub .100 hitting.
- Washington State closes out the Thunderdome Classic against the host Gauchos at 7 p.m. as the Cougs look to claim their second-straight tournament title.