Cougs power past Oregon in fifth set to knock off 12th-ranked Ducks
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State volleyball (11-5, 3-2 Pac-12) caputured its first tozp-25 win of the season in front of a packed crowd in Bohler Gym as it defeated12th-ranked Oregon (10-2, 4-1 Pac-12), 3-2 (22-25, 28-26, 13-25, 25-18, 15-9), Friday night. Pia Timmer led the way with 21 kills and Laura Jansen grabbed another double double from the back row with 11 kills and a team-high 17 digs.
"I think it's a huge win. We've been really working towards one of those top-25 wins to help carry our RPI throughout the season," said Head Coach Jen Greeny. "To get a win against a really good Oregon team is special for this team and I think can really propel into the rest of the conference season," said Greeny.
Washington State has now won five straight home conference openers and three straight over the Ducks, winning five-of-six in the all-time series against Oregon. The Cougars are now 11-1 when holding opponents to .250 hitting or lower as the Ducks, second in the Pac-12 entering the night (.298), were held to just .239 (63-25-159) for the night.
Magda Jehlarova finished with 10 kills with six blocks while libero, Karly Basham, racked up 16 digs and added four assists to go along with her team-leading 22nd ace of the season at the service line. Katy Ryan added eight kills in some of the biggest moments of the comeback win and Argentina Ung finished with 42 assists to go along with three kills, eight digs and six blocks.
Oregon went on a 3-1 run late in the opening set to go ahead, 23-20, and took the early one-set lead off of a Mimi Colyer kill on its second set point.
Washington State bounced back after trailing 22-18 late in the second, going on a 5-1 run to earn the first set point ahead, 25-24. The Cougs later benefited from three-straight Oregon errors which gave WSU the second-set win, 28-26. The Ducks went on a 6-2 run to start the third set and never looked back, eventually pulling back in front in the match with a 25-13 second-set win.
WSU responded quickly in the fourth, taking an 8-2 lead out of the third intermission. The Cougars bounced back from a slow set offensively in the third to hit .286 (10-2-28) as a team in the fourth. Timmer had a team-leading four kills in the fourth to keep Washington State ahead by a comfortable margin from start to finish. Oregon would go on a late 3-0 run, but Washington State never trailed in the fourth set and evened the match with a 25-18 fourth-set win.
Washington State stole early momentum in the fifth with a 3-1 run to start the frame. The Cougs later went on a 3-0 run with the help of an Oregon serving error and a Ducks' attack error, pushing its lead up to four at 11-7. Following 15th Oregon service error of the night to give WSU match point, Timmer closed out the match at the service line with an service ace on match point to give WSU the fifth set, 15-9.
"The team talked a lot about going into the fourth and fifth about (last week's four-set loss) Stanford," said Greeny. "We learned from that. We learned that we got a little tight in the fourth against Stanford and so their mindset in the fourth and fifth was just totally different that it was at Stanford. They were loose, they were focused and confident so I think we can just carry that forward."
The Cougars will look to defend home court on Sunday as they host Oregon State back in Bohler Gym beginning at 12 p.m. (PST). Sunday's game will be broadcasat live on Pac-12 Network Washington.
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QUOTEABLE: WASHINGTON STATE HEAD COACH JEN GREENY
On bouncing back from a sluggish third set
"Volleyball is a game of momentum. Sometimes you just kind of get stuck and that's okay. We were able to bounce back. We changed some things up, especially from the service line, and it really worked so we just kind of took confidence from there. Everyone once in a while you will get one of those weird sets but this team just really responds well and I'm really proud of them for doing that."
On Laura Jansen raising the level of her defensive game
Everyone has had to step up their game a little bit. We've talked about playing better defense. We have some players that are just playing completely out of position and so everyone else has to step up their defense. Laura (Jansen) came up with some unbelievable digs tonight and scramble plays which takes a lot of heart and that is something that Laura definitely has.
On offense improving late after a slow start
"The first couple of sets, I think it was hard to find a rhythm. We talked about how they play such great defense and to expect that ball coming back. We were able to settle into our passing and move our hitters around to keep everyone just a little more off balance as the match went along. (Oregon) will always be such a great defensive team and I really like how our team responded tonight."
On the team chemistry with the 2022 roster
"Volleyball is the most players in the smallest amount of space. We have six players in a 30 (feet) by 30 (feet) space, so you have to be able to communicate well and have great team chemistry. It really translates, how close they are off the court to on the court."
On the impact Friday's win can have on the rest of the season
"I think we learned that we can take a punch and fight back. The team talked a lot about going into the fourth and fifth about (last week's four-set loss) Stanford. We learned from that. We learned that we got a little tight in the fourth against Stanford and so their mindset in the fourth and fifth was just totally different that it was at Stanford. They were loose, they were focused and confident so I think we can just carry that forward."