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College volleyball: Washington State sweeps Northern Colorado in first round of NCAA tournament; EWU coach resigns

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 2, 2021

Washington State volleyball celebrates after sweeping Northern Colorado in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Dec. 2, 2021, in Waco, Texas.  (Courtesy WSU Athletics)
Washington State volleyball celebrates after sweeping Northern Colorado in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Dec. 2, 2021, in Waco, Texas. (Courtesy WSU Athletics)

Kalyah Williams had 11 kills, Hannah Pukis added 33 assists and Washington State swept Northern Colorado 25-17, 25-15, 25-20 on the Baylor campus in Waco, Texas, on Thursday to advance out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the Cougars reached the Sweet 16 in 2018.

WSU (20-11) faces fifth-seeded Baylor (21-5) in a second-round match on Friday at 5 p.m. Baylor swept Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in its first-round match.

It’s the eighth time in program history the Cougars won their first-round matchup. The sweep was WSU’s 16th of the season.

The win improved Washington State to 15-14 in the postseason, including 5-5 under head coach Jen Greeny.

Williams notched her 14th double-digit kill match of the season and her career high for an NCAA Tournament match.

Karly Basham led the Cougars’ defensive efforts with a career-best 20 digs.

The Cougars posted 70 digs , the most in a three-set match this season.

EWU coach resigns

Eastern Washington head volleyball coach Leslie Flores-Cloud resigned to spend more time with family, EWU Associate Vice-President/Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey announced Thursday. Flores-Cloud was hired in 2018.

“Leslie was given a huge task when hired at Eastern to rebuild our volleyball program. She has done an outstanding job in helping us move the program back to where Eastern Washington volleyball should be and will leave a very good group of young players who are ready to compete at the Big Sky Conference level and who excel in the classroom,” Hickey said. “Leslie represented us well in the community, in the Big Sky, and nationally with membership on various committees. We respect her need to prioritize being with her young family and certainly wish her the best.”

Flores-Cloud guided the Eagles to the past two Big Sky Conference Tournaments, finishing last season with an 11-14 record.

Current assistant coach Angela Spoja will step in as interim coach while a search for Flores-Cloud’s replacement is conducted.

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