Nov. 27, 2009
PULLMAN, Wash. -- The Washington State volleyball team (18-12, 6-12) needed five sets but ended the regular season and sent four seniors out of Bohler Gym with a 3-2 win over Oregon State (12-18, 3-15) Friday night at Bohler Gym.
Three Cougar players scored in double-digit kills as WSU prevailed with scores of 25-17, 23-25, 25-20, 25-27, and 15-11. Sophomore Meagan Ganzer has 19 kills, senior Jackie Albright had 15 kills and junior Brittany Tillman added 11 kills and hit .391 for the match. Freshmen Oceana Bush and Rachel Todorovich combined for 43 digs with senior Kelly Hyder contributing 13 more. Senior Cassie Robbins and Tillman each had a match-high six blocks and Ganzer and Todorovich each tallied five more blocks. Senior Renee Bordelon had 49 assists. WSU hit .255 as a team.
Oregon State was led by Jill Sawatzky's 27 kills and 23 digs. Rachel Rourke had 26 kills, three service aces and four blocks. Camilla Ah-Hoy had 57 assists and 14 digs. Lexie Rathgeber had four blocks. The Beavers had 14 service errors and hit .164 for the match.
"Our outside hitters did a good job tonight and hit .267 and .220, and then our middles, especially Tilly hitting .391, that opens up a lot of things," WSU Head Coach Andrew Palileo said. "We handled the ball a little bit better and I thought we passed really well. We out-blocked them 14 to 12 and that helped quite a bit. They had two players do well, which they always do, but nobody else went up on us aside from those two. I thought Renee did a good job of distributing the ball. The two sets that we lost, both teams didn't play a clean match. But in game five, we had a 91 percent sideout percentage and you aren't going to lose very often if you sideout right away like that."
Washington State started the match by rattling off four consecutive points early in the first set for a 10-6 lead and then extended it to a commanding 21-12 lead. Oregon State showed life late in the set with a run of its own, but the Cougars went on to win 25-17. Ganzer had five kills with a .364 hitting percentage in the opener and Sawatzky had seven kills and hit .385 to lead the Beavers. WSU hit .367 in the set and held OSU to a .175.
OSU jumped out to an early 9-5 lead and kept the Cougars at bay by as many a five points in the middle of the set. WSU battled back to knot the set at 21-all but attacks from Rourke and Ah-Hoy put the Beavs back in the lead, 23-21. After a WSU timeout, Sawatzky's serve went long and Albright and Tillman teamed up to block Sawatzky's attack at the net to tie the set at 23 points. Rourke found the court on the next two attacks for her seventh and eighth kills of the set and the visitors took a 25-23 win. OSU improved to a .344 hitting percentage while WSU hit .312 and was led by Ganzer and Albright with four kills each.
The Cougars took a 19-12 lead in the third set when Rourke landed a kill and served two aces to close the Beaver gap to four points. After a WSU timeout, OSU had a block and then Rourke served long to extend the Coug lead to 20-16. Six of the final nine points were scored on errors with WSU coming out on top, 25-20. WSU hit .188 and OSU hit .000 for the third set.
WSU watched a 13-10 fourth set lead disappear as OSU tallied four straight points to move on top, 16-14. The Cougs tied it up on two OSU hitting errors but the Beavers scored five of the next seven points for a 21-18 lead. Ganzer landed a pair of attacks followed by a block by Todorovich and Robbins to knot the score at 21. The rest of the set was error-filled with tie scores - there were 15 ties in the set - at every point up until Sawatzky's attack put OSU serving for set at 25-26 and Ashley Eneliko and Rourke combined on a block of Albright to win the set 27-25.
The Cougars held the lead in the fifth set from the first serve but the Beavers were never out of contention until the final five points of the match. WSU hit .400 and held OSU to .160 in this set.
"Our team really rose to the occasion," senior Jackie Albright said. "No matter if we make it to the tournament, we went out on the right note and this season has been an awesome last one for me."
The Cougars, coming off the most Pac-10 wins in a season since the 2002 Elite Eight season, must now wait to see if they will be extended an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament. The NCAA selection announcements will be broadcast live on ESPNews.