- Washington State def. No. 25 Arizona 3-2, (25-18, 27-29, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12)
- WSU improves to 19-9, 9-7 Pac-12, while Arizona falls to 16-12, 8-8 Pac-12
- Hosted by Washington State
Courtesy of Washington State Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State volleyball team moved to a record of 19-9 overall, 9-7 in Pac-12 action after defeating No. 25 Arizona (16-12, 8-8) Sunday afternoon in Bohler Gym. Sunday’s Cougars win was notable for several reasons: WSU moved into a tie for sixth place in the conference, 19 wins is the most in the program since 2002, and it was Head Coach Jen Greeny‘s 200th collegiate career coaching victory. WSU won with set scores of 25-18, 27-29, 25-23, 21-25, and 15-12.
“I’m proud of the way we came out today. The number of wins is great but it’s really for this team this year and seeing if we can finish strong,” Greeny said. “We’re focusing on trying to meet our ultimate goal of getting to the NCAA Tournament.”
Leading the way for the Cougars in the statistical categories were: Kyra Holt with 17 kills, 12 digs and four blocks – her 48th double-double of her career; Casey Schoenlein with a career-high 15 kills, .419 hitting percentage, and five blocks; McKenna Woodford with 13 kills, 13 digs and three blocks; and Haley MacDonald with 30 assists and 11 digs. Claire Martin led the match with eight blocks, Taylor Mims added six blocks and Hailey Bethunecontributed seven kills and four blocks. Alexis Dirige had 24 digs and Nicole Rigoni had 18 assists.
Arizona’s Kalei Mau led the match with 31 kills and had two aces and 17 digs. Kendra Dahlke had 17 kills, two aces and 14 digs. Laura Larson led the match with 25 digs while Penina Snuka set up 60 assists. McKenzie Jacobson led the Wildcats with six blocks and Devyn Cross had four blocks.
WSU hit .224 for the match and held Arizona to a .156 team hitting percentage. Once again, the Cougars’ blocking was instrumental in the match with 16.5 team blocks to UA’S 10. Arizona won the kills category 69 to 61 and service aces, five to four, but WSU out-dug the visitors 75 to 71.
“Great win for us against a very, very good Arizona team,” Greeny said. “I was really happy how we battled and were able to pull out the victory. I’m very proud of this team. Kyra Holt, Casey Schoenlein and McKenna Woodforddid a fantastic job especially Casey. She was big time and I liked the way she was super aggressive and it really showed in the numbers.”
“Winning in five is always fun and especially when we’ve had a little rut and to get out and know that we’re still pushing and still fighting is huge,” Schoenlein said. “Offensively it’s a mentality thing: I am just going up and going to be aggressive and swing hard on every ball. It’s been helping me a lot.”
WSU travels to the mountain states this week to play at No. 19 Utah (19-8, 10-6) Thursday at 5 p.m. PT in a match televised on the Pac-12 Network, and at Colorado (13-13, 5-11) Sunday morning at 11 a.m. PT.
Courtesy of Arizona Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash. – In a back-and-forth affair at Bohler Gym in Pullman, Washington, the Washington State Cougars narrowly outlasted a feisty Arizona volleyball team in five sets, defeating the 25th-ranked Wildcats 25-18, 27-29, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12.
“I’m obviously disappointed that we lost in five,” said head coach Dave Rubio. “But I’m proud of how we competed. We didn’t execute well at the end of the third or fifth sets, those were sets we certainly could have won.”
Kalei Mau had a match for the ages, posting a career-high 31 kills, tied for 15th-most in a match in Arizona history and tied for the most of any Pac-12 player this year. Mau was set 80 times, the eighth highest total in Arizona history. The senior paired her 31 kills with 17 digs for her 11th double-double this season.
“Kalei was terrific,” said Rubio. “She was obviously very good today. She carried us offensively for much of the match.”
Arizona (16-12, 8-8 Pac-12) struggled with Washington State’s block, as the nation’s second-best unit totaled 16.5 blocks and limited Arizona to a .156 hitting percentage. But Arizona’s seniors kept the Cats in the game.
In addition to Mau’s massive match, Penina Snuka tied her career high with 60 assists, just the second 60-plus assist in the conference this season. Meanwhile, Laura Larson set a season-high with 25 digs.
Arizona’s middles were also impressive in the match. Devyn Cross tied a season-high with nine kills on .444 hitting with four blocks while McKenzie Jacobson notched six kills on .417 hitting with a team-high six blocks. The Wildcats had 10 blocks as a team.
Arizona was resilient in the match. After Washington State (19-9, 9-7 Pac-12) dominated the opening set and appeared as though the second set was heading that way as well, UA fought back to win the second. Later, after the Cougars snuck by Arizona in the third to take a 2-1 lead, the Cats came back to win the fourth to force a fifth. The Cougars edged Arizona in the fifth to secure the season sweep over Arizona.
Arizona struggled with the Washington State block in the first, as the Cougars put up five blocks to Arizona’s zero. UA had just eight kills to go along with eight errors for a .000 hitting percentage as the Cougars won the first 25-18.
Washington State carried that momentum into the second, where it was dominating in the early going. Washington State led by five early and then fought off a UA run to lead by five again at 21-16. The Cats battled their way back, fighting off four Washington State set points and eventually winning a marathon of a second set, 29-27.
The Cougars opened the third hot, taking a 6-1 lead early. UA chipped away and tied the set at 10 apiece and eventually surged ahead late. The Cats extended to a three-point lead, their largest of the match at 22-19, but the Cougars scored six of the final seven points to steal the third, 25-23.
UA fought back in the fourth with Kalei Mau leading the way. The senior had six key kills, leading Arizona to a 25-21 victory.
In a closely-contested fifth set, it was Washington State breaking away late. After Arizona came back to tie things up at 11, Washington State scored four of the final five points to win the match in five.
UP NEXT: With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, Arizona hosts California (Friday) and Stanford (Sunday) at McKale Center next week.
FOLLOW THE CATS: For continued coverage of Arizona volleyball, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@ArizonaVBall).
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