WSU volleyball secures fourth straight sweep with win over the No. 13 Ducks

The No. 25 Washington State Cougars (12-6, 6-2) earned their fourth consecutive sweep, this time against the No. 13 Oregon Ducks (14-4, 5-3). This sweep kept the Cougs tied for second in the conference and knocked the Ducks into a tie for third place. It was a highly successful roundtrip where WSU won 12 consecutive set wins to keep pace in the conference race.

Third set

As with the second set, reviews played a major part in the early part of the third. A review with on the Cougs third point did not overrun the on the court call, but there was no other explanation provided by the Pac-12 officials. Magda Jehlarova’s tenth kill of the match came on the Cougars fourth point of the set — she lead WSU in kills at that point. Washington State’s 3-0 run came to an end as the Ducks cut the lead down to one.

Washington State responded by going on a 3-1 run to take a 10-6 lead as the Ducks took a timeout. Out of the timeout, both squads swapped the next four points as the Ducks were really able to close the gap. Oregon then went on a 3-0 run to cut the Cougar lead to one at 11-12. Head coach Jen Geeny then called a timeout.

Oregon had appeared to immediately tied it at 12 to extend its run to 4-0 off an attack error by Pia Timmer; Greeny challenged the ruling and it was overturned for a 13-11 WSU lead. The Cougars went on a 4-0 run of their own, as the Ducks recorded their 18th and 19th attack errors during the run, to lead by 16-11.

Washington State was dominant down the stretch as the lead was pushed to eight on a 7-0 run. Oregon had no response for the Cougar offensive onslaught in the middle of the third set. A block for Jehlarova gave the Cougs a 20-12 lead in response to Oregon ending that scoring run. At 21-12 the Ducks challenged the point for WSU; the call on the court was over ruled and it became a 20-13 lead for the Cougars.

It was hard for Oregon’s overcome that seven point large WSU leas as the Cougs first match point came at 24-15. Brooke Nuneviller’s attack error went long and the Cougars earned their 12th straight set win for their fourth consecutive sweep with a 25-15 third set win.

Second set

While the first seven points of the second set we’re split fairly evenly — for a 4-3 WSU lead — the Ducks ripped off a 4-0 run to take a comfortable three point lead. But the Cougar defense made a pair of impressive blocks to tie it back up at eight. Those blocks were part of a 5-0 run that have WSU a 10-8 lead.

Unfortunately for WSU, the Ducks wouldn’t go away as they quickly tied it up. The back and forth nature of the set continued. A couple of times the Ducks pushed their lead to two but Washington State came right back. But the biggest story in the second half were the reviews. There were a total of three, two of them overturned the calls and awarded points to the squad that challenged the rule in the first forty points.

The first one was on if an Oregon kill was in bounds or not, the review said it was out and the point was awarded to the Cougs; Oregon than challenged that ruling to say it was touched, the ruling was confirmed as a long hit with no Cougar touching it to tie the set at 16. Four total points later and then Ducks challenged a pancake that kept a rally alive, WSU scored at the end of it; officials looked at it and ruled the ball hit the floor before, the officials overturned the call on the floor and Oregon took a 19-17 lead.

Washington State responded to that challenge with a 4-1 run that tied the match at 20. It would have been a 5-1 run but another Oregon challenge overruled a point for WSU to give the Ducks a 21-20 lead — a Cougar was ruled to have touched a ball before it went out of bounds. The Cougs quickly tied it up, then took a 22-21 lead for it to be tied back up at 22 after an impressive rally by both sides.

Oregon struggled on the next two points as the Cougars earned their first set point of the second set at 24-22. Nuneviller kept the second set alive with her seventh kill. But the Cougs secured their 11th straight set win on the next set point at 25-23.

First set

The Cougars raced off to an early 3-0 lead in the first set thanks to some quick sets and a couple of quick blocks. But a service error turned the tide as Oregon went on a 3-1 run of its own to tie the set at four a piece. At this point it became a back and forth affair between the two top 24 squads. Oregon’s offense was aided by three service errors in the first 15 points by WSU.

But the Ducks also played sluggishly in the first set as a pair of attack errors allows Washington State to hang around. Timmer’s first kill tied the set at 10 off of the finger tips of Oregon’s defenders. Nuneviller’s third kill of the set gave the Ducks an 11-10 lead; Timmer’s second then tied it back up as to of the conference’s top offensive threats swapped kills…Timmer got her third kill to tie it at 12.

A 3-1 scoring run for Washington State, including Ryan’s first kill, gave the Cougs a 15-13 lead. But it wasn’t to last as a net violation, and a beautiful kill by Taylor Williams tied it at 15. The next four points were scored in a back and forth manor; then Washington State ripped off a 3-0 run that forced the Ducks to take a timeout down 17-20. But Oregon would not go quietly in the set as it kept pace; Timmer’s sixth kill got WSU’s lead back up to two before the Ducks scored again to cut it to one.

Despite the timeout, Oregon wouldn’t score again as the Cougs put the first set away 25-20. It was their 10th straight set win. Nuneviller kept the set going with her seventh kill of the match. The second set point came at 24-23 for WSU and it converted to win its 11th straight set at 25-23.

Post match thoughts

  • This was WSU’s first sweep in Eugene, Ore. since 2003 and the first weekend sweep of the Oregon schools (on the road) since 2001.
  • It was an uncharacteristically sloppy match for the Cougars as they hit .243 for the match and they had 14 attack errors, along with eight service errors. But the good news is they held Oregon’s offense in check — the Ducks hit .091 for the match with 24 attack errors.
  • While Timmer recorded 13 kills, to lead all scorers, Jehlarova recorded 10 of her own as the second Cougar in double digits. She did it while hitting .250 on the day.
  • Washington State still has a legit shot at the conference title as the Cougars are now only a match back of the Pac-12 leader UCLA — pending the outcome of the Bruins match against Arizona State, which they lead one set to zero.

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