Washington State (10-6, 4-2) earned its second straight sweep of the weekend as it downed Arizona (11-6, 3-3) on the road in Tempe, Ariz. Pia Timmer led all scorers in the match with 19 kills; Timmer was absolutely on fire as she hit .444 and recorded only three errors on the afternoon.
The trend of the sets starting off as back-and-forth affairs continued in the first eight points of the third set. Julia Norvell’s second service ace of the match pushed WSU out to a 6-4 lead. Washington State’s offense kept up the pressure as it responded to the Wildcats attack. Arizona closer within one (at 6-7) but Timmer’s 14th kill moved WSU’s lead back to two.
A service error by Karly Basham cut the lead to one. This was another stretch where Washington State had an unforced error, including Timmer hitting the antenna, that kept the Wildcats hanging around. Put Stubbe’s continued to have herself a nice match as she recorded her 13th kill to tie it at nine a piece; her 14th also tied it at ten.
Jaelyn Hodge gave the Wildcats their first lead since the beginning of the set. Then Stubbe pushed that lead to 12-10 with her 14th kill. Stubbe continued to establish herself as she pushed the lead to 14-11 on a 4-1 scoring run for Arizona. Washington State was forced to take its first turnout down 12-15.
The Cougars fourth service error of the match extended UA’s lead to three. Fortunately, Timmer’s 17th kill cut it to two; which she followed up with her 18th kill to cut it to one. Timmer’s third straight kill tied it at 16 which forced a Arizona timeout. A block gave Washington State its first lead since the beginning of the set.
WSU’s 4-0 scoring run ended with its fifth service error of the match. Maldonado Diaz’s attack error gave the Cougs a 18-17 lead. But it wasn’t to last as the Wildcats mini 2-0 scoring run gave them a 19-18 lead; that ended on a service error to tie it at 19. A 3-0 Washington State run forced an Arizona timeout as it trailed 19-21.
The first point out of the timeout was scored by Washington State to push its lead to three. But Stubbe wasn’t going to let the match end quietly as she put an end to the Cougars scoring run. WSU responded with a block to get its lead back to three at 23-20. Ryan earned WSU it’s first match point at 24-20 with her eighth kill. Penny Tusa secured the sweep with an impressive kill to end a rally, 25-20.
Much like the beginning of the first set, the both the Cougars and Wildcats swapped points; at one point Arizona had a 3-2 lead after Herman earned her second kill of the match. But Williams noted it back at three points a piece. Then the Cougars took their first lead of the set when Williams found a hole in the Wildcats defense.
An impressive kill from Tusa, off the assist by Hannah Pukis, tied it back at five as neither squad was able to go on a scoring run. Timmer would record her seventh and eighth kill of the match in the second set to help her squad keep pace, she had also not recorded an attack error up to this point; her ninth kill gave the Cougs an 8-7 lead. That lead was then extended to two by Jehlarova.
A rare attack error by Jehlarova tied the set at 10. That was quickly followed up by Jehlarova’s third kill of the match to get a lead back for WSU at 11-10. The Cougars went on a 3-0 scoring run to push their lead up to 14-11; which forced a timeout for Arizona.
Out of the timeout, Diaz put an end to WSU’s scoring run. Despite a questionable double hit call, the Wildcats looked really good as scored a couple of points to cut the Cougar lead to two. It didn’t take long for Washington State to get back into control of the set though as a block by Jehlarova gave the Cougars a 17-13 lead and forced Arizona to take another time out.
Timmer continued to quietly excel in this match as her 13th kill gave the Cougs a 19-13 lead. For the second set in a row, Washington State separated itself from Zona. Another attack error by the Cougs cut their lead to five. Fortunately, Arizona immediately followed that up with service error. A 3-0 scoring run for the Wildcats to cut the lead to 18-21.
WSU’s first set point of the second came at 24-19; the offense wasn’t able to capitalize. The second set ended on an attack error by Stubbe. It was a 25-20 second set win that led WSU to a 2-0 match lead.
At the beginning the first set was fairly back and forth. It started off is 2-2 but then WSU built its lead to two before Arizona brought it back. This trend was consistent throughout the early parts of the set, even with Timmer getting a couple kills early Washington State was never able to push its lead past two.
That was until a service ace by Basham pushed WSU’s lead to three, it was the second ace of the match for the Cougs. The fourth ace of the match (this time by Pukis) helped push the lead to four, 12-8 Cougs, which is when Arizona took its first timeout of the match.
The timeout didn’t help, as the Cougs scoring run continued. An attack error by the Wildcats and a kill by Pukis extended the lead to six (14-8) which lead to another timeout for Arizona. Which led to the Wildcats first point in a good stretch of the match.
Stubbe continued her excellent first set for Zona as her fourth kill of the set brought the score within five. WSU responded by scoring three of the next four points to push its lead to seven at 18-11. Arizona began to chip away at the Cougs lead as they went on a 3-0 run to cut WSU’s lead to four. But that wasn’t enough as
WSU’s first service error of the set/match came when the Cougs had a 22-15 lead, which cut the lead to 22-16 — the Cougars had four service aces in the first set. The Wildcats challenged WSU’s 23rd point because they thought it was dug, the call stood and so did the point. The set came to an end shortly after the challenge as Washington State capitalized on its first set.
Post match thoughts
- The Cougs has four, four, service aces in the first set. Their offense was absolutely on fire in that set and it was impressive to watch.
- Zona hit .276 in the first set, a pretty good number against a usually good defensive Cougar squad. But WSU’s offense was just that much better at .286.
- WSU’s defense seemed sluggish at times in the third set. And they had absolutely no answer for Stubbe either.
- After a disappointing weekend at Bohler against the LA schools, the Cougs needed a split to stay in the NCAA tournament discussion. Fortunately, they came out of this Arizona road trip with back-to-to back sweeps and have a good shot at being around the fifth spot in the conference standings.
- As team, the Cougs hit .326 on Sunday afternoon and held Arizona to .250. It was another consistent performance from both the offense and defense in the sweep.