Sept. 11, 1999
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - In the end, it did not matter that the match-clinching point came courtesy of a service error by New Mexico's Janelle Torres. What mattered was that for the first time in the abbreviated history of the WSU-New Mexico rivalry, the Cougars ended up on the winning side of the ledger, defeating the Lobos 15-7, 15-13, 9-15, 9-15, 15-12 at the Pit Saturday afternoon.
"It wasn't pretty, but it sure was nice to get a win here," said WSU coach Cindy Fredrick, whose team improved to 5-1 in 1999. "We feel pretty lucky to come out of here with a win."
The five-game marathon was sweet revenge for the Cougars, who had lost their three previous meetings with New Mexico, including season-ending defeats at The Pit during the NCAA Tournament in 1991 and 1994. Like Saturday's match, the 1994 meeting saw WSU jump out to a two-games to one lead only to have the Lobos sweep the final two games.
"I had flashbacks to 1994," Fredrick said. "The same thing was happening all over again. Fortunately we had Joy (Sperry) step up like the senior captain she is and lead us in the fifth game."
Sperry (Wallace, Idaho) played one of the best all-around matches of her career with 20 kills and 22 digs. She led the Cougars with a .273 attack percentage. Sophomore Missy Blackshire (Spokane, Wash.) added to the attack with 17 kills, three service aces and a career-high 16 digs.
Defense won the match for the Cougars as WSU set a season-high in digs for the second straight match with 100 against the Lobos. The Cougs had 77 digs Friday night versus No. 17 Texas A&M. New Mexico (3-4) also set a season-high in digs with 95.
"New Mexico hit better than us, blocked better than us," said Fredrick. "On paper, we should not have won this match, but we hung in there and came out on top where it counts, on the scoreboard."
Freshman Holly Harris (Sandy, Utah) had 12 kills and career-highs in digs (11) and blocks (seven), while freshman LaToya Harris (Portland, Ore.) had 12 kills. Freshman setter Melissa Wright (Muncie, Ind.) tallied 63 assists to go along with a career-high 13 digs. Freshman Kortney Jamtaas (Orinda, Calif.) proved invaluable on defense in games one, two and five with a career-high 19 digs.
Senior Amber Smith led the Lobos with 20 kills and 15 digs, while junior Micaela Conley added 15 kills.
The Cougars return to action tonight in a 5 p.m. match versus No. 23 Colorado.
1999 Jones Intercable Invitational The Pit, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M.
Washington State (5-1) d. New Mexico (3-4) 3-2
Game scores: 15-7, 15-13, 9-15, 9-15, 15-12
STATISTICS: KILLS: Sperry (WSU) 20, Blackshire (WSU) 17, H. Harris (WSU) 12, L. Harris (WSU) 11, Smith (UNM) 20, Conley (UNM) 15, Shields (UNM) 14, Goffard (UNM) 11. ASSISTS: Wright (WSU) 63, Torres (UNM) 58. DIGS: Sperry (WSU) 22, Jamtaas (WSU) 19, Blackshire (WSU) 16, Wright (WSU) 13, H. Harris (WSU) 11, Torres (UNM) 21, Conley (UNM) 18, Smith (15), Allison (15), Burns (14). BLOCKS: H. Harris (WSU) 7, L. Harris (WSU) 3, Sansoni (UNM) 6, Shields (UNM) 4, Smith (UNM) 4. SERVICE ACES: Blackshire (WSU) 3, Torres (UNM) 3, Goffard (UNM) 3. Attendance: 237.