Cougs drop five-setter to 22nd-ranked Pepperdine
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Laura Jansen put up a season-best 22 kills and Argentina Ung posted a career-best 57 assists to go along with five kills, three block assists and one solo block but Washington State volleyball (8-2) fell, 3-2 (25-18, 17-25, 29-31, 26-24, 15-8), to No. 22 Pepperdine (9-2) on Friday night at the Maturi Pavilion on the second night of the Minnesota Diet Coke Classic.
Jansen finished with a .356 hitting percentage on the night (22-6-45) but WSU, the top-ranked hitting team in the nation going into the match, hit just .210 as a team for the match. Pia Timmer led all Cougars with 20 digs defensively while libero Karly Basham finished the night with 17 digs and three assists. Ung led Washington State with four total blocks while Magda Jehlarova added three block assists to her fourth all-time career total (379), but Pepperdine finished the night with a 10-5 advantage in team blocks.
Washington State followed up a three-set program record (14) in its last match with another 10 service aces as a team, but also suffered from nine errors at the service line in Friday's night's loss to Pepperdine.
"I was proud of the way that we had some heart after that first set and battled back," said head coach Jen Greeny. "Pepperdine is a great team and played unbelievable defense. I think we just kind of ran out of steam a little bit in the fifth."
WSU bounced back from a slow opening set, going 12-of-17 on sideouts (70 percent) in the second with 15 kills and a .370 hitting percentage as a team to even that match at one set apiece. Washington State started the second set on a 10-2 run after dropping the first and Pia Timmer tallied six kills on only eight swings to help WSU even the match.
The Cougs trailed early in the third but went on an 7-1 run to even the set at 17-17. Jansen put up her team-leading seventh kill of th set to even the second at 19-19 and Washington State benefited from a Waves' service error, ball handling error and five Pepperdine attack errors down the stretch to help eek out a win in a back-and-forth 31-29 third set that saw a match-high 14 ties and five lead changes.
WSU again trailed early in the fourth, but evened the set at 16-16. WSU later won back-to-back points to sideout and even the match at 24-24, but Pepperdine added two more kills to finish with a match-high 18 as a team in the fourth as it closed out the set, 26-24.
Both teams traded points early in the fifth and were deadlocked at 4-4 when Pepperdine went on a 4-0 spurt to begin separating in the match. The Waves went 5-of-7 (71 percent) on sideouts in the fifth and hit .500 as a team (12-1-22) as the Cougars ran out of steam defensively in a 15-6 decisive set.
Washington State will be back in the Maturi Pavilion tomorrow night as it takes on the sixth-ranked weekend hosts, Minnesota (4-3), starting at 5:30 p.m. (PST).