Despite being competitive in all three sets, Washington State volleyball’s (20-12) season came thanks to a Baylor (22-5) sweep in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The sweep happened despite the fact that Washington State had three separate set point opportunities in the first set.
Washington State’s first service error of the match was the result of its first set point in set one. The second set point ended in a Yossina Pressley kill to tie that set at 24. it was a Kalyah Williams kill that gave Washington State it’s third set point; but that was quickly erased by Avery Skinner on the next point. If the Cougars had converted on one of these set points, this match would have gone into a fourth set — that is if Baylor had still won sets two and three.
Despite the service error in the first set, the Cougars would only have three more on the night as they would also record seven aces — the Bears had four errors and aces in the match. Unfortunately for WSU, the offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders as the Cougs only hit .167 for the match.
There’s a lot of reason to be optimistic about next season, but the way this one ended stings; even though it came in three competitive sets against a top-ten team.
The third set started an Argentina Ung kill off of a block error. The Bears challenged an attack and it was ruled a touch to tie the set at one a piece. Ung followed that up with an attack error to give Baylor an early 2-1 lead. Katy Ryan got her eighth kill to tie it back at two.
Washington State took the lead back on an attack error that went out of bounds. But that lead didn’t last long as Pressley, again, found a hole in the Cougar defense. Skinner gave Baylor a lead back on an impressive kill that was too quick for anyone to get to it.
Penny Tusa tied it back at four as both squads continued to swap points. Neither side was able to go on a scoring run as the first 18 points of the set were evenly split — this included a challenge on a four hit ruling that was overturned as Marie van der Mark touched the ball.
Baylor’s fifth service ace of the match made it 10-9. Then a second straight ace made it 11-9 as the Bears got their largest lead of the set.
Ryan got the Cougars back within one on a sharp kill. A net violation on the Bears tied it back at 11 as neither squad was able to really separate. Ryan and Magda Jehlarova has a combined block to get WSU back in the lead. While Baylor quickly tied it up again, the Cougars scored the next two points to give them a 14-12 lead.
Baylor quickly tied it back at 14 with back-to-back points. An emphatic block by Kara McGhee gave Washington State the lead back at 15-14 at the media timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Bears score the first three points to take the lead back. Washington State took a timeout as Baylor was on a 4-0 run with an 18-15 lead.
The run continued on the first point out of the timeout as Baylor’s lead reached four. That run ended at 5-0 with a Baylor block error. But the Bears quickly got it out to four again as they were the first to hit 20 points.
A service error followed up that kill by Baylor as Pia Timmer came back into the match. Unfortunately, Timmer wasn’t able to get the dig on the next point and Baylor was up 21-17. The two points were evenly split as the Bears did a great job of preventing a WSU scoring run. At this point, Washington State took its final timeout of the set down 18-22.
Jehlarova scored the first point out of the timeout to cut the Bears lead down to three. She followed that up with her second block to cut the lead to two. But Skinner made it 23-20 and that was followed up with another Skinner kill.
On the match point, Jehlarova’s kill attempt was long and the Bears won the third set 25-20 to win the match 3-0.
A block by Hannah Sedwick earned the Bears the first point of the match. It was quickly followed up by an attack violation that left Greeny notably upset near the bench. But Washington State quickly got the next two points to tie it back up at two.
Skinner got a cross court kill and then the Bears got a block to push Baylor’s lead back out to two. Greeny challenged the next point after it was ruled in bounds; the point was confirmed — which I still disagree with. The next one was too long on an Ung attack. Washington State suddenly found itself in a four point hole before it scored again.
A block error by Baylor cut their lead to 6-4. Pressley then tried a cross court kill that was too long to cut the Bear lead to one. Pressley responded with her seventh kill to get Baylor’s lead back out to two.
Jehlarova pounced on a kill near the net and Baylor had no one in position for the dig. That was followed up by Washington State’s sixth service ace of the match tied it back at seven. Baylor scored back-to-back points to push their lead back to two.
A Ryan kill and an ace for Norville tied it back-up. Unfortunately for the Cougars, they weren’t able to string together a run as Baylor took the lead with back-to-back points. That was followed up with a service error by the Bears to make it 11-10 Baylor. An attack error tied it back at 11.
A pair of attack errors by Washington State pushed Baylor’s lead back up to two. That was followed up by a block as Baylor strung pushed its lead up to three before Ung got a kill. At the media timeout, Baylor had 15-12 lead in the second set.
While Washington State got the first point out of the timeout, a service ace gave the serve back to the home team. Jehlarova with a block over the net cut Baylor’s to one as the Cougars scored three of the first four points out of the timeout. But the Bears quickly reeled off a 3-0 run that was ended by a sharp kill from Tusa.
The Bears held onto their three point lead even as WSU kept pace. Washington State’s third service error of the night kept that lead at three. But van der Mark’s third block of the match made it 22-18 and forced the Cougs to take a timeout.
Out of the timeout Skinner got another point for Baylor with a kill that found a hole in the Cougar defense. Ung’s seventh kill cut the Bears lead to four and then an attack error by Baylor cut their lead down to three.
Unfortunately a service error by Basham earned its first set point at 24-21. Timmer’s first kill since her injury against Cal a month ago — she’d made a service appearance against UNC — kept the set alive.
Skinner’s 10th kill of the match gave Baylor a 25-21 second set win and a 2-0 advantage. The Bears were looking for the sweep at the start of the third set.
Tusa’s first kill of the match gave WSU its first point and the Cougs ended up with two of the first three points. The Cougars then reeled off the next two points. Unfortunately the Baylor Bears went on a 5-2 run to make it an 8-6 lead.
WSU didn’t stay down for long as the Cougs went on a 5-2 run of their own to tie it at 11. It didn’t take long for Baylor to quickly build up a three point lead. That didn’t really get any bigger as the Cougars kept pace.
A service ace by Basham knotted it up at 16 and was in the middle of a 3-0 run to get WSU it’s first lead in a while. But Baylor quickly tied it after a miscommunication on the defensive side of the court cost Washington State a point. The Bears get back into the lead; but it didn’t take long the Cougs to tie it back up.
Baylor scored back-to-back points to take a 20-18 lead. That led to Greeny using her first timeout.
The first point out of the timeout went to WSU as Ryan’s soft hit became her second kill. Pressley responded with a hard hit kill that ricocheted off of the dig attempt. Baylor got the next point to push its lead to three before Washington State responded.
Ryan’s third kill of the set cut the lead to one and then Williams tied it up with an emphatic block at the net. A service ace for Jehlarova gave the Cougars first lead in a while at 23-22 as Baylor took a timeout. The Cougs were in the middle of a 4-0 run.
Out of the timeout WSU had a service ace to earn its first set point at 24-22. Unfortunately the serve went long to make it 24-23. The next set point ended with another Pressley kill to tie it at 24 and Greeny used her second timeout of the set.
The Cougars quickly got another set point at 25-24 thanks to a Baylor miscommunication on defense. It wasn’t to be though as the Bears quickly knotted it up again. Baylor’s first set point came on a dig attempt that went out of bounds.
Baylor got the kill it needed from Pressley as they won the first set 27-25.
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Photo Credit: WSU Volleyball