Washington State Logs 21 Blocks in Five-Set Upset Over #17 UCLA

  0 Derek Johnson | October 28th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12


  • Washington State def. #17 UCLA 3-2 (16-25, 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 15-12)
  • Washington State improves to 14-9 (3-8, Pac-12); #17 UCLA falls to 13-7 (6-5, Pac-12)
  • Pullman, Washington (Pac-12 Match)
  • Attendance: 687
  • Box Score

Pullman, Washington – Washington State downed #17 UCLA in a five-set upset behind 21 team blocks and a dominant defense that stifled UCLA to a .126 hitting percentage.

That block was led by Ella Lajos and Jocelyn Urias, who each posted 10 blocks individually for Washington State. Beyond that, Alexis Dirige was a weapon in the back with a monstrous 37 digs for the Cougars. In the losing effort for UCLA, Madeleine Gates (16 kills, six blocks) and Kyra Rogers (nine kills, .600, nine digs) posted big numbers.

Washington State scored the first point of the match, but it was UCLA taking control in the opening set behind a run early to take an 8-2 lead and another later in the set to reinforce the lead.

Neither team found much of a run in the second set, as back-and-forth the action went to a 23-all tie. Back-to-back Taylor Mims (21 kills, 11 digs, five blocks) kills put an end to the set and evened things 1-1. The Cougars added to it in the third by pulling ahead in the middle of the set and hanging on at the end for a 25-22 game that gave them a 2-1 set advantage.

With their back against the wall, the Bruins responded in the fourth set with an 8-4 early edge that later translated to 16-10. Washington State did pull to within two at 22-20, but Reily Buechler (11 kills, 15 digs, three blocks) put an end to a 3-1 run to end the set with a kill.

UCLA then garnered a 3-1 lead early in the fifth and final set, but five unanswered points by Washington State switched that lead. UCLA did come back to tie at seven before Washington State scored for an 8-7 lead at the switch. The sides exchanged points from there to a 12-12 tie, but a pair of team errors from the Bruins were followed by the theme of the match – a Washington State block coming from Urias (five kills, 10 blocks) and Claire Martin (seven kills, eight blocks) finished off the upset.

Beyond that front-row defense that posted 11 more team blocks (21-10), things were even in hitting percentage and UCLA had more aces (6-1) and digs (86-79).

One more match looms for UCLA in the same state as they face #15 Washington on the road on Sunday. Washington State meanwhile stays home and gets the other Los Angeles school with another ranked opponent on the ledger in #13 USC.


Courtesy of Washington State:

PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State volleyball team (14-9 overall, 3-8 in Pac-12) upset No. 13 UCLA (13-7, 6-5) Friday night in Bohler Gym. The Cougars won with set scores of 16-25, 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, and 15-12.

Alexis Dirige, a sophomore libero from San Francisco, had a career-high 37 digs, eclipsing her 36-dig performance earlier in the season. Dirige’s 37 digs is the second-most in WSU’s single match history.

Taylor Mims had a double-double with a match-high 21 kills and had 11 digs and five blocks. Casey Schoenlein had 15 kills and five blocks. Claire Martin added seven kills and eight blocks while Jocelyn Uriasand Ella Lajos each contributed five kills and career-high 10 blocks for each middle blocker. Penny Tusa had a double-double with 27 assists and 10 digs. Ashley Brown had 20 assists.

WSU had 21 team blocks, the most this season, compared to UCLA’s 10 team blocks. The Bruins out-hit the Cougars 60 to 54 and out-dug WSU 86 to 79. Both teams hit .126 for the match.

WSU Head Coach Jen Greeny said, “I thought there were a lot of good things (tonight), especially blocking. I thought our block was extremely solid. They are such a good defensive team that sometimes you can get frustrated offensively with them just digging lights out, but I think we just stayed in there, kept at it and we were able to do a really good job on the blocking.”

On getting a 5-set win Greeny said, “We’ve had some tight ones just not go our way and I think we just stuck in there and we played a lot better and a lot more comfortable down the stretch.”

On going forward in second half of conference play Greeny said, “We have so many ranked teams and so many great teams in this conference that just picking up a few wins is going to really give us some confidence, and down the stretch you never know what’s going to happen in the second half. In the Pac-12 every single match that we play is tough. It’s going to be a fight and it’s going to be a grind, but I am really proud of our team today.”

WSU junior middle blocker Ella Lajos said, “I just told myself to go out there and close, and like the coaches tell me to do. I’ve been working on pressing over when I get a block. I think we showed a lot of fight. Coming out we said we had nothing to lose, let’s just play balls to the wall and win. This team had a lot of heart tonight, and played tough.”


  • This is WSU’s ninth win over UCLA in 63 matches and the sixth time WSU has won in Pullman. The last time WSU defeated UCLA in Pullman was in 2002 when Greeny was an assistant coach.
  • Of the nine times WSU has defeated UCLA, Jen Greeny was the head coach for two, the assistant coach for one and a Cougars player for five.
  • Junior Claire Martin has 347 block assists, fifth-best in school history, and 379 total blocks, tied for seventh-best in WSU all-time.
  • Taylor Mims reached 300 career block assists tonight, 12th-best in WSU career records.
  • Alexis Dirige now had 894 digs, 18th-most in school career records.
  • Attendance: 687

Washington State (14-9 overall, 3-8 in Pac-12) hosts No. 19 USC (15-7, 7-4) Sunday in a 1 p.m. match in Pullman.

Courtesy of UCLA:

PULLMAN, Wash. – Sophomore Madeleine Gates recorded a team-best 16 kills and six blocks, while senior Sarah Sponcil was close to a triple-double with eight kills, 37 assists and 16 digs, but the 13th-ranked Bruins dropped a five-set decision at Washington State on Friday at Bohler Gym. Set scores were 25-16, 23-25, 22-25, 25-21, 12-15.

Senior Reily Buechler had a double-double with 11 kills and 15 digs and junior Kyra Rogers was just shy of one with nine kills (no errors in 15 swings for a .600 percentage) and nine digs. Junior Zana Munorecorded 21 digs, freshman Mac May had nine kills, freshman Jenny Mosser posted seven kills and eight digs, junior Savvy Simo had eight digs and sophomore Kylie Miller added 12 assists and five digs. The Bruins hit .126 for the match.

The Bruins (13-7, 6-5 Pac-12) dropped the first point of the match, but scored the next four and eight of nine to break it open early. A Rogers kill and three Washington State errors made it 4-1. After a sideout, a Buechler solo block, kills by Sponcil and Gates and a May ace put the Bruins up 8-2. The Cougars (14-9, 3-8 Pac-12) got to within a pair on a couple of occasions, but could get no closer. At 13-10, a WSU service error, two Buechler kills and a Rogers/Buechler block made it a seven-point difference. The Bruins’ largest lead was nine, which would also be their final margin of victory in a 25-16 triumph. Buechler led UCLA with four kills and five digs, while Mosser added three kills. Sponcil recorded five digs and Muno had four. The Bruins out-hit the Cougars .167 to .026.

Set two featured 10 ties and five lead changes. The Bruins scored the first two points of the second, which would equal their biggest edge of the set. Down 14-13, UCLA scored two in a row on a Gates kill and combo block with Mosser, but Washington State netted eight of the next 11 to go ahead 22-18. Trailing 23-20, the Bruins would get a Gates kill, a Sponcil/Gates block and a Simo ace to even things up, but the Cougars notched the last two of the set to win the second 25-23. Gates and May both had four kills in the second, as the Bruins were out-hit .167 to .135.

The Bruins’ only lead of set three was one at 4-3, while Washington State’s largest advantage was five on a couple of occasions. Trailing 20-16, UCLA scored four of five on kills by Sponcil and Gates and two WSU attack errors to get to within one, but the Bruins could get no closer, as Washington State won the third 25-22. Gates posted four kills, while Rogers added three. Muno had six digs and Buechler and Sponcil each recorded four. The Bruins were out-hit .235 to .073.

The Bruins led wire-to-wire in set four to force a deciding fifth set. UCLA scored six of the first seven on kills by Rogers and May, a Mosser ace, a May/Gates block and two WSU errors. The Cougars got to within one at 9-8, but a 7-2 UCLA run gave the visitors a set-best lead of six at 16-10. Sponcil had a kill and an ace during the run, Mosser, May and Gates added kills, Buechler had a solo block and WSU made an error. The Bruins’ lead didn’t dip below two for the rest of the set, as a Buechler kill closed out a 25-21 win. Sponcil paced the Bruins with four kills, Gates added three and Muno posted four digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Cougars .233 to .116.

UCLA scored three of the first four points of set five on kills by Buechler and Gates and a WSU attack error, but the Cougars netted the next five to go up 6-3. Two Gates kills and a combo block with Sponcil evened things at six, but despite four more ties, the Bruins were unable to re-take the lead. Washington State scored the final three points to take the fifth 15-12. Gates had three kills in the fifth, while Muno added four digs, as the Bruins were out-hit .077 to -.036.

The Bruins finish up a four-match road trip on Sunday at #14 Washington at 11 a.m. The contest will be televised on Pac-12 Network National and Los Angeles.

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