No. 2 Huskies hand WSU first volleyball defeat
PULLMAN – The atmosphere was ripe for an upset.
The opponent was not.
Washington State’s volleyball team is no longer undefeated after suffering a 3-0 loss to No. 2 Washington (9-0, 1-0 in Pac-12) at a packed Bohler Gymnasium – filled with 1,854 observers – on Wednesday night.
The Huskies won each set by a score of 25-17, and didn’t trail after WSU held a 6-5 lead in the first set.
WSU coach Jen Greeny said she didn’t think her team attacked the way it had en route to a 13-game winning streak. The Cougars had lost just one set in their previous seven matches.
“I thought we were pretty tentative,” Greeny said. “It’s hard when we haven’t played a Pac-12 schedule yet, (for) a lot of our newcomers as well. Washington is just a fabulous team. We were pretty tentative from the beginning. It was really hard to find a groove after that.”
Students lined up more than an hour before the match started, the line snaking its way through the hallways of the Bohler athletic complex before the doors opened for seating.
And the Cougars seemed to feed off the atmosphere, taking an early 3-1 lead in the first set behind a couple of strong kills from freshman Kyra Holt. But that was about as into it as the crowd got, as Washington worked its way to a 13-9 lead that expanded to 19-13 before the Huskies eventually cruised to a 25-17 set victory.
WSU (13-1, 0-1) was out-hit .371 to .131 by the Huskies, and didn’t help its cause with 19 attack errors.
Holt led the Cougars with 10 kills, and junior Jaicee Harris was right behind with nine.
“This was the first Pac-12 game for a lot of people,” Harris said, offering a possible explanation for WSU’s tentative play. “Maybe they didn’t know what the atmosphere was going to be like in here.”
Greeny praised the play of Washington’s blockers, and said the size the Huskies had at the net might have caused the Cougars to abandon the gameplan to find other ways to score.
“They had a tremendous block and play great defense,” Greeny said. “So I don’t know if mentally they’re thinking, ‘I have to do something else with it to get it around the block.’
“We could just never get our middles going. Maybe part of that had to do with the pass, their block, our middles not doing their job, seeing the block and then going somewhere else.”
Krista Vansant led Washington with 13 kills – while hitting .440 – and Kylin Munoz had eight.
WSU travels to Corvallis for a 6 p.m. game Friday against Oregon State.