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Another tough one as WSU drops a five-setter at No. 16 UCLA

Oct 29, 2021

PULLMAN, Wash. – For the second time on the year No. 22 Washington State (13-8, 7-4) came up on the wrong side of five-set heartbreak as No. 16 UCLA (16-3, 9-2) rallied from behind to win, 3-2, Friday night in Westwood.

Set scores from the match were: 25-21, 23-25, 22-25, 25-15, 15-11 in favor of the Bruins.

In a match full of runs it was the Bruins who struck first, turning around a big early lead for the Cougs to capture the opening set. Up one at 21-20 the Cougs could not hold off a late push by the Bruins as UCLA closed the frame on with a 5-0 rally, attacking the pins behind Mac May who came up with seven kills in the opener to one-up junior Pia Timmer who finished with six kills.

Down one, the Cougs would again jump out to an early lead, this time attacking the middle as Kalyah Williams came up with three-straight kills to bolster the WSU attack. With the middle secure the Cougs were the first to 15 only to see the Bruins again mount a comeback that put WSU on its heels. As an 8-3 run put the Bruins within reach of the set victory at 22-20 the Cougs clamped down, responding with their own 4-0 spurt capped by back-to-back blocks by Magda Jehlarova that turned the tides for WSU. Jehlarova would finish off the rally two points later with a kill in the middle as the Cougs evened the match at 1-1.

Despite the momentum of capturing the set late the Cougs would find themselves playing from behind quickly in set three as the Bruins ran out to a 6-1 lead forcing the early timeout. The suddenness of the deficit would only shock the Cougs for so long as WSU looked to its star on the outside to claw their way back into the set. Using their own 7-2 run the Cougs would draw even for the first time at 12-12 as Timmer came up with back-to-back kills to cap the run. Finding her rhythm, Timmer would post six of her eight set kills in the first half of the frame as WSU worked to a 15-15 draw before taking their first lead at 16-15. The two sides would play nearly even the rest of the way before trading a pair of mini runs, the last of which being the final 3-0 kick by the Cougs finished off by a big block by Jehlarova and Hannah Pukis to put the Cougs one-set away from victory.

Unfortunately the rally in the previous set would empty the tank of the Cougs as the Bruins came out firing in set four and never looked back. Behind a nearly flawless attack that saw the Bruins make just three mistakes and hit .429, UCLA stormed out to a big early lead pulling away and never letting the Cougs rally back into the contest.

The offensive performance continued in the fifth and decisive set as the Bruins again stormed out to a 7-2 lead while hitting .688 in the set. While the Bruins' offense was clicking on all cylinders the Cougs did not go quietly into the night as WSU closed the gap to within two at 12-10 only to be denied as UCLA held off the come-back by WSU to secure the win in Pauley Pavilion.

Penny Tusa came up with the Cougs' top all-around effort finishing the match with 7 kills, 12 digs, and a career-best 4 blocks (tying her total vs Oregon, 10/11/19).



  • The Cougs dropped their second-straight five-setter and third-straight overall to the Bruins.
    • The loss was the Cougs third-five set loss in Pac-12 play
    • WSU dropped it's first road match in Pac-12 play.
    • The five-setter was the first between the two teams in LA since 2016.
  • WSU fell to 1-4 on the year in five-set matches.
  • Penny Tusa posted tied a career-best with four blocks in the match, all coming in the first three sets. 
    • She moved into 5th place in career sets played with 474 while tying for 8th for matches played at 128.
  • Hannah Pukis picked up her 9th double-double of the season finishing the match with 42 assists and 14 digs. She added 6 kills and 3 blocks for good measure.
  • Pia Timmer ended the match tied for the match high with 22 kills, her second-highest kill total of the season.
  • Washington State closes the weekend at USC Sunday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m.