Sept. 9, 2011
PULLMAN - The Washington State volleyball team clawed back in the fifth set to take a 3-2 win over the University of San Francisco Friday night before 772 fans at the Nike Cougar Challenge Tournament at Bohler Gym.
With this 25-19, 25-15, 22-25, 16-25, 15-11 win, WSU moves to a 7-2 record and USF drops to 4-4 on the season.
Meagan Ganzer led the match with 23 kills with Rachel Todorovich adding 11 kills and four blocks. Ver'Leea Hardaway had six blocks and Shawna Lum led the match with 16 digs. Camryn Irwin had 41 assists and joined Jaicee Harris and Lum two aces each.
USF's Jocelyn Levig and Valentina Zaloznik combined for 24 kills with Zaloznik leading the match with eight blocks. Joan Caloiaro had 35 assists, 15 digs and three blocks.
WSU hit .186 for the match and USF hit .143. Both teams had 10 blocks.
"I loved the (WSU) team that came out and played in sets one and two and I actually thought that was the best we'd played so far this season," Cougar Head Coach Jen Greeny said. "That darn game break gets you sometimes and with an inexperienced team I'm not quite sure if we just weren't focused. But San Francisco made some good adjustments and they started really digging. I don't know who that team was in sets three and four but I'm glad they showed back up in set five."
The USF kept the first set close until the score reached the mid-teens and the Dons couldn't stop the nine kills and .467 hitting percentage of Ganzer. Cougars hit .303 for the set and held USF to a .138 hitting percentage. WSU continued the momentum in the second set, hitting an outstanding .526 en route to a 25-15 win.
The Dons dominated this set, taking a 16-9 early lead before the Cougars regrouped and battled back to knot the set at 21 points. Chelsey Bettinson landed a kill to put WSU up 22-21 but Zaloznik returned with an attack to tie the set at 22. USF used kills from Levig and Zaloznik with an error from the Cougars to win out 25-22.
USF took an early fourth set lead and extended it to a 25-16 win. The Cougars were held to a -.086 hitting percentage in this set, amassing 11 errors in 35 attacks.
San Francisco took a 9-7 lead but strong attacks from Marcelina Glab and Ganzer along with two service error and a hitting error by the Dons gave the Cougars the 15-11 set win and the 3-2 match win.
"The home opener went a couple of sets longer than were ideal but I think we learned a lot in those other sets,' Ganzer said. "We had 21 hitting errors in the two sets we lost and eight combined in the three we won. Playing at home should be a confidence builder but the fact that you can embarrass yourself in front of everyone you know. It gets nerve-racking at home sometimes, especially for so many young players."
In the first match Friday evening, Sam Houston State (6-4) defeated Manhattan College (3-4) by scores of 26-24, 25-20, 25-23. The Cougar Challenge continues Saturday at 11 a.m. with Manhattan College playing San Francisco and WSU will meet Sam Houston State at 7 p.m.