The Washington State volleyball team’s season came to an end Saturday night as the Cougars (18-16) fell to No. 5 Nebraska (28-4) 25-13, 25-13, and 25-18 in a second-round match of the NCAA Tournament at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Nebraska extended its win streak to 15 matches.
Junior Taylor Mims led the Cougars with nine kills with Jocelyn Urias adding five kills. Claire Martin contributed three kills and two blocks. Ashley Brown had 19 assists and Alexis Dirige had seven digs.
The Huskers had 44 kills to 20 for WSU, hitting .300 while holding the Cougars to a .033 hitting percentage. Nebraska led WSU in assists 39-19, in digs 49-25 and in blocks 10-2.
“If you would have said before the season started, we had six players on the floor either in a new position or new to the team, and then three of our starters got hurt; if you would have said at that time, ‘Hey you’re going to go to the second round of the NCAA Tournament,’ I think we all would have said, ‘No way, yeah right.’” WSU coach Jen Greeny said.
“We fought through that adversity and I am just really proud of the way we made it through that and got to the second round.”
Illinois 3, Washington 2: Washington’s quest for a sixth straight Sweet 16 appearance and its first Final Four in four years was cut short in a second-round match in Seattle.
The eighth-seeded Huskies were up two sets to one and leading in the fourth, but Illinois squad flipped the script, winning the fourth on a big run and carrying that momentum to a fifth-set victory. The Huskies finish the season with a 25-8 record following the 25-22, 17-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-9 loss.
Washington’s senior class of seven players won two Pac-12 titles and posted 116 total wins, one short of tying the school record. Those seven are Carly DeHoog, Jade Finau, Marion Hazelwood, Crissy Jones, Tia Scambray, Courtney Schwan, and Bailey Tanner.
Sophomore Kara Bajema led the Huskies with a career-high 26 kills with 11 digs.
The Huskies played seven five-setters in Pac-12 play, their most since 1990, and with the loss against Illinois, UW went 3-5 on the year in fifth sets. The second round loss is UW’s earliest NCAA exit since a second round defeat at Minnesota in 2011.