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Magda Magnificent, Leads Cougs to Reverse Sweep of ASU

Nov 7, 2021

PULLMAN, Wash. – In a match that could have gone south, No. 21 Washington State (16-8, 10-4) showed the perseverance that will pay dividends later in the season as the Cougs came up with the reverse sweep of Arizona State (13-12, 6-8) to win, 3-2, Sunday at Bohler Gym.

Set scores from the match were: 21-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-6 in favor of the Cougs.

Behind one of the greatest offensive performances in program history from Magda Jehlarova and an unprecedented attack from behind the service line, the Cougs were able to overcome a sluggish start on their home court to post their 10th Pac-12 win of the season in dramatic fashion.

Early on things did not look good for the home Cougs as mistakes and poor communication plagued WSU to open the match. Taking advantage of the miscues and lackluster passing from the Cougs, ASU made the most of its opportunities, turning WSU's bad fortunes into instant offense the other way. Behind an 8-0 run midway through the first set, the Sun Devils were able to become just the second team in over a month to capture the opening set of a match against WSU, running away with the victory to take the early lead. 

In search of the equalizing set victory the Cougs stormed out to an early lead in set two only to see their passing woes return late to allow the Sun Devils back into the frame. Even with the mistakes the Cougs were able to climb within a breath of victory, leading 23-20 in the waning minutes of the second set. However, again the Sun Devils came up with the plays needed to turn the set around, scoring the final five points of the stanza including a pair of aces to steal the second set victory out from under WSU. The Sun Devils were able to put WSU in a deep hole due to an offense that hit nearly .400 through the first two sets even with the Cougs hitting well over .300 themselves and having already posted eight service aces in the match.

With their backs against the wall and facing the possibility of being swept out of their own gym the Cougs buckled down and began the long journey back into the match. Looking to their all-american in the middle, the Cougs turned to Jehlarova to hammer their way out of their funk as the third-year middle put the team on her back, posting a perfect 7-for-7 on the attacking front in the third set. It would be a 7-1 run for the Cougs at 10-10 that broke open the set as Jehlarova came up with three of her seven kills with the Cougs serving and added a block along side of Katy Ryan to record four of the seven points during run. The Sun Devils would get no closer than three the rest of the way as the Cougs nabbed their first set win of the day. In addition to the offense it was the Cougs' block that began to find its form as well as the team posted five blocks, four coming from Jehlarova, while holding the Sun Devils to just .259 hitting.

Finding their angles all over the court, the Cougs evened the match in dominating fashion in the fourth coming up with four more aces and a service game that pushed the Sun Devils even further out of rhythm and system. The continued assault from the service line was led by Hannah Pukis who tallied back-to-back aces as WSU jumped out to a 13-8 lead. The advantage would swell to double-digits as WSU's defense was in the all the right places, buttressed by the play of libero Karly Basham, to dig any attack that came its way as the Sun Devils fell to just .156 hitting in the frame. While the defense rallied it was again Jehlarova's excellence on the offensive end that ignited the run as she went 4-for-5 in the set, hammering down her 20th kill of the day to close out the victory 25-17.

With all the momentum on their side the Cougs blew out the Sun Devils in the final set of the day, scoring 14 of the final 17 points, with just one offensive point coming from ASU, to complete the comeback. In all, the Cougs were flawless in the final set finishing with eight kills on 15 attempts and no errors as Kalyah Williams and Pia Timmer notched six of the eight on 11 attacks with Timmer's final kill ending the match. Even in the shortened set the Cougs found a way to dominate behind the service line, recording three more aces including a fifth from Penny Tusa that handed the Cougs the only match-point they would need on the day.

Magda Jehlarova produced one of the finest matches in program history in the middle for the Cougs as she posted a career-high 21 kills on 25 attempts with no errors to hit .840 (the fourth best single-match hitting percentage in Cougar history and best for a player with 20+ attempts). In addition she led the way with nine blocks.


  • The Cougs swept season series with the Sun Devils for the second-consecutive season.
    • With the win the Cougs swept all four matches against the Arizona Schools for the first time since 2016.
  • The five-set win was the second for the Cougs in Pac-12 play and first since defeating Washington Sept. 26.
    • WSU is now 2-4 in five-set matches on the year.
  • .WSU set a program-record with 18 service aces in the match, shattering the previous mark of 15 done twice in 1998.
    • The 18 aces ties for the fifth most in Pac-12 history and the most in a match in the conference since 2005.
    • Pia Timmer and Penny Tusa (tying a career high) each served up 5 in the match to tie the five-set record for the Cougs.
    • Timmer finished the weekend with a program record 11 service aces, the most for an Coug in back-to-back matches.
  • Magda Jehlarova finished the match 21-0-25 (.840) attacking, he fourth best single-match hitting percentage in Cougar history and best for a player with 20+ attempts.
    • For the weekend Jehlarova posted an unprecedented .730 attack percentage with 27 kills on 37 attempts and no errors.
    • Defensively Jehlarova just missed the double-double posting nine blocks, finishing the weekend with 16 total blocks.
    • Jehlarova moved into the program's all-time top-10 for total blocks with 381. Additionally she moved into sole possession of 4th all-time in solo blocks with her 74th during the match.
  • Pia Timmer recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 18 kills (.341) and 11 digs to go along with her five service aces. It was her first double-double since Oct. 3 versus UCLA.
  • Penny Tusa pushed her career total to 138 aces, five away from tying the all-time record of 143 held by LaToya Harris.
    • Tusa played her 131st career match to tie for third all-time with Clair Martin.
  • Freshman Katy Ryan tied a career high with 6 blocks in the match.
  • WSU will head south to take on Cal, Thursday, Nov. 11 in Berkeley. The match is scheduled for 7 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.