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Slumping WSU Seeks Return To Form On Trip

The cover of the program insert for the Washington State volleyball team states: “The Road to Success is Always Under Construction.”

And lately for the Cougars, road has been rough.

Washington State has lost two straight and is trying to get back to the form that catapulted them to the No. 5 ranking they had a couple of weeks ago. WSU is currently ranked No. 9.

This weekend, WSU (9-3 Pac-10, 17-3 overall) travels to Berkeley, Calif., to take on the Cal Golden Bears (4-9, 10-11) Friday night at 7. On Saturday, the Cougs will skip over the bay to take on No. 4 Stanford (13-0, 19-2) at 7 p.m.

Both matches will be broadcast on Pullman radio station KRPL, 1400 AM. It is the first time that a WSU regular-season match has been broadcast live.

Where WSU once in a position to contend for a Pac-10 title, due to the fact that first-place Stanford is showing no signs of stumbling, a second place finish looks more realistic for the Cougars.

However, UCLA (8-5, 14-6) and USC (8-5, 11-6) sit just 1-1/2 games behind WSU for second place.

WSU has been struggling since game four of its five-game defeat against Arizona at home two weeks ago.

In the contest, WSU led 2-games-to-1 and held an 8-2 lead in the fourth before being outscored 13-5 and losing the match. WSU went on to lose game five 15-11.Since that 8-2 lead in game four against Arizona, the Cougars have been outscored 84-61.

What’s really significant is that the Cougars are beating themselves just as much as the opposition.

“Everybody is playing tentative volleyball right now and no one is getting after the ball,” WSU coach Cindy Fredrick said.

WSU’s remaining schedule

Nov. 10 against Oregon at WSU’s Beasley Coliseum, 6:30 p.m.; Nov. 11 at WSU’s Bohler Gym against Oregon State, 7 p.m.; Nov. 16 at USC, 7 p.m.; Nov. 17 at UCLA, 7 p.m.

Vandals hitting stride

The Idaho Vandals appear to be hitting stride.

At 9-1 Big Sky, 21-4 overall, Idaho is ranked No. 23 in the country.

Last week at Cheney, the Vandals barely broke a sweat against Eastern Washington as they disposed the Eagles in straight sets in a mere 45 minutes.

Idaho was led by the 19 kills by senior all-America candidate Tzvetelina Yanchulova who had a match high 19 kills while hitting .371.

Junior setter, Lynne Hyland dished out 40 assists and became only the second Vandal ever to record 3,000 assists.

Hyland now has 3,038 assists, second only to Kelley Neely who amassed 4,744 assists from 1982-85.

“Lynne at this point in the season is as good as she’s ever been,” Idaho coach Tom Hilbert said.”She’s is distributing the ball really well, and yet she senses when she needs to go back to Lina (Yanchulova).

“Right now we are more efficient on offense and we are passing the ball better than during any other time since I’ve been here and that’s really a tribute to Lynn. Granted, we may not necessarily have as good of athletes but she is doing some fantastic things for us right now.”

Idaho is home this weekend to face Northern Arizona (Friday, 7:30 p.m.) and Weber State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.). Idaho has a six match winning streak and will be gunning for its 43rd consecutive home match win with sweeps of the two schools.

, DataTimes