Postseason play begins versus the Bears in Waco
|vs Northern Colorado (24-6) | Thursday, Dec. 2 | 4:30pm CT
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|NCAA Tournament 2nd Round | Friday, Dec. 3 | 7pm CT
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The Cougs are in the postseason for a Washington State Athletics record 6th-straight time and for the 16th time in program history (12th time with coach Greeny as either a player, assistant, and now head coach). The Cougs will take on Northern Colorado in the opening round of the tournament, Thursday, December 2 with the second round taking place a day later on Dec. 3. WSU finished the regular season tied for fourth place in the Pac-12 after posting a 13-7 conference record. The 13 wins were the most for the Cougs under head coach Jen Greeny while overall WSU won 19 matches on the year including 12 over the AVCA top-100.
The Cougs and the Bears have met twice all-time (1981 & 2007) with the WSU coming away with a pair of 3-1 victories. Thursday's matchup will be the first on neutral ground for the two sides and the first in the postseason.
The current crop of Cougs are looking to break out of a first round rut in the postseason after falling in their opening round contest each of the last two seasons. In 2018, the Cougs made a run to the sweet 16 before falling to No. 1 Stanford. Last year, the Cougs dropped a tough 3-1 match to Western Kentucky in Omaha.
COUGS IN THE REGULAR SEASON
WSU finished the regular season tied for fourth place in the Pac-12 after posting a 13-7 conference record. The 13 wins were the most for the Cougs under head coach Jen Greeny while overall WSU won 19 matches on the year including 12 over the AVCA top-100. For her efforts, Greeny was named the Pac-12 Co-Coach of the Year (her second coach of the year honors at WSU).
The Cougs staked their reputations on defense and serving throughout the year, taking advantage of their both aspects to put their opponents off guard. Defensively, Magda Jehalrova, an All-Pac-12 honoree, has led the way as the third-year middle finished the regular season third in the country in blocking at 1.45 blocks per set. As a team the Cougs held opponents to sub-.200 hitting 15 times on the year including 11 matches in Pac-12 play. At the service line the Cougs were dominant finishing the regular season with 191 aces, the most for the Cougs since 1992. Penny Tusa led the way with 40 on the year as the super senior finished No. 1 in the Pac-12. Offensively the Cougs' offense was run by All-Pac-12 setter Hannah Pukis as the junior finished the regular season with 10.27 assists per set as she looked for her number one option, All-Pac-12 outside, Pia Timmer. Timmer missed the last five matches due to injury but is expected to be back for the Cougs' opening round contest against the UNC. Despite missing the end of the season Timmer still finished among the conference's elite at 3.91 kills per set. Timmer took home a pair of Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week awards on the year as well as AVCA National Player of the Week honors after a historic 31 kill performance in late September.
> Coach Jen Greeny enters the weekend 14th all-time in wins in the Pac-12 having won 184 matches at WSU. Greeny was named the Pac-12's Co-Coach of the Year, her second coach of the year award after also being named the top coach in 2016.
> WSU is one of only 17 programs (14 from Power 5 Schools) in the nation, out of 334 total schools, to qualify for the NCAA Championship Tournament in 6 consecutive seasons (2016-21).
> The Cougs have made it to the third round of the tournament four times (1996, 1997, 2002, & 2018) and the fourth round twice (1996 & 2002) in program history. All-time the Cougs are an even 14-14 in the postseason (4-5 under head coach Jen Greeny)
> The Cougs have made the NCAA Tournament 16 times in program history - 12 have come with Greeny in the program as a player (3), assistant (3), and now head coach (6).
> Four Cougs earned All-Pac-12 honors earlier in the week with Magda Jehlarova, Hannah Pukis, and Pia Timmer each taking first team honors while Katy Ryan earned all-freshman recognition. It is the second-consecutive season the trio of stars for the Cougs have taken home first team honors.
> WSU was last in Waco, Texas in 2016 playing in the Baylor Invite. The Cougs fell in the tournament championship match to the Bears, 3-2, snapping a nine-match win streak at the time in non-con play.
> WSU staked its success on a disruptive service game, netting 191 aces on the year, the most since 1992. The Cougs finished the season ranked 34th in the country at 1.74 aces per set - Pia Timmer (0.40) and Penny Tusa (0.36) led the way.
> The Cougs played the final five matches of the season with out their star outside, Pia Timmer, but hope to have her back for the opening round of the NCAAs against Northern Colorado Thursday.
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