Greeny Co-Coach of the Year, Four Cougs Earn All-Conference
SAN FRANCISCO – For the second time in her illustrious career, Washington State volleyball head coach Jen Greeny was named Pac-12 Co-Coach of the Year as voted on by her peers across the league. In addition, the Cougs saw Magda Jehlarova, Pia Timmer, and Hannah Pukis each earn all-conference honors while Katy Ryan was named to the all-freshman team.
In one of her best coaching performances of her career at WSU, Greeny guided her Cougs to a 13-win season in Pac-12 play, the most wins in conference action for the 11th year head coach. The shorthanded Cougs were in the title hunt into the final weekend of the season before finishing just off the pace in fourth place. Overall, Greeny and her Cougs finished the regular season 19-11 with four top-25 wins including a top-10 victory in Pullman over Pac-12 champion and then No. 6 ranked Washington. With their play, the Cougs earned their sixth-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, the longest run of success for any program in Washington State Athletics history. The at-large bid marked the 16th time the Cougs have played their way into the postseason and the 12th time with Greeny as part of the program as either a player, assistant, and now head coach.
For Jehlarova, the standout middle earned her third-straight all-conference award after continuing her dominance defensively for the Cougs. A three-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, Jehlarova finished the regular season third in the country in blocking at 1.45 blocks per set (1.64 in Pac-12 play). Her 159 total blocks, the 10th most in program history in a single season, was also the second most in the country behind only Rainelle Jones of Maryland. In addition to her defense, Jehlarova was the Cougs' most efficient attacker finishing the year hitting .361, fourth best among all-attackers in the conference, while averaging 2.40 kills per set.
Despite missing the final weeks of the 2021 campaign due to injury, star outside Pia Timmer's dominance at the pins was enough to earn the respect of the conference's coaches and earn her a second-straight spot on the all-conference team. Throughout the season Timmer earned a pair of Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week awards as well as earning just the second Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week award in program history on Sept. 28 after a 31-kill performance against Washington. For the year, Timmer led the Cougs with 348 total kills while her 3.91 kills per set ranked 5th in the Pac-12. In addition to her kills, Timmer was one of the best in the country behind the service line with 36 aces while her 0.40 aces per set ranked first in the Pac-12.
The captain of the Cougs on the court, setter Hannah Pukis was the catalyst of the Cougs' success, leading the way en route to her third-straight all-conference honor. One of the best all-around setters in the country, Pukis finished the regular season with 1,130 assists, 97 kills, 19 aces, 284 digs, and 65 blocks. Her 1,130 assists finished second in the Pac-12 while ranking 32nd in the country. As a team the Cougs finished hitting .242 with 1,452 kills on 3,749 attempts. During the season Pukis moved into the Cougs' all-time top-10 in assists, climbing all the way to No. 7 by the end of the year having posted 2,775 career assists.
Adding her name to the list of great freshmen to put on the Crimson and Gray, Katy Ryan earned a spot on the all-freshman team just as Jehlarova, Timmer, and Pukis all did before her. Called upon to carry a major load offensively in her first year of action, Ryan did not disappoint as the first year right-side ended her inaugural campaign with 229 kills averaging 2.12 kills per set on an impressive .315 hitting. She finished the regular season with six double-digit kill performances including season bests of 19 & 15 in two matches against rival Washington. In addition to her offense, Ryan developed her defense throughout the season ending the year with 72.0 blocks and 45 digs.
The Cougs begin postseason play Thursday, Dec. 2 in Waco, Texas as they take on Northern Colorado at 4:30 p.m. CT in the opening round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.