Oct. 2, 2009
PULLMAN, Wash. -- The Washington State volleyball team came from behind and scored seven consecutive points in the third set to take a 25-21, 25-22, 26-24 win over No. 18 Arizona Friday night before 1,446 fans in Bohler Gym. The last time WSU defeated a ranked team in Pacific-10 Conference action was in November 2004 (3-2 win over No. 6 USC).
Washington State moves to a record of 13-1 overall, 2-1 in Pac-10 while Arizona is now 12-2 overall, 1-2 in league play.
The Cougars were led by Meagan Ganzer's 12 kills, with no other Coug in double-digit kills but there were no doubts that this was a team effort. Jackie Albright chipped in eight kills and 10 digs, Rachel Todorovich added eight kills and four blocks, Cassie Robbins had eight kills and three blocks, and Brittany Tillman contributed seven kills, hit .357 and had two blocks. Renee Bordelon had 41 assists and a pair of service aces. Oceana Bush had a match-high 16 digs.
Arizona's Tiffany Owens led all players with 18 kills and had 11 digs. Whitney Dosty added 10 kills and four blocks. Alanna Resch led the team with 12 digs and Paige Weber had 41 assists. Kaylen Bannister led the match with five blocks. The Wildcats did not have a service ace in the match.
"I thought we did a good job in the first and second sets from the standpoint of a game plan," WSU Head Coach Andrew Palileo said. "They're a big team and you know they're going to get their kills. They're the number eighteenth ranked team in the country and so you knew that they were going to just keep battling and they did a good job of that. The third set wasn't about the game plan it was about emotion, about intensity, and the lack of it in the beginning of that set, and the feeling of accomplishment already at that point. We were really battling that in that third set and then once we kind of brought ourselves back into the set, we started playing the way we did the first two."
In the first set, the Cougars jumped out to an 8-1 lead and extended it a 22-16 lead. The Wildcats scored five of the next six points and WSU took a timeout. Albright and Ganzer landed kills to end the set in the home team's favor, 25-21. Albright, Todorovich, and Ganzer all had four kills to lead WSU in the opening set while Owens had seven kills.
The second set was tighter from the first serve, with nine ties and three lead changes. WSU was ahead by two when Arizona rallied and tied it at 18-all. The Cougars scored the next three points but Arizona returned to the court after a timeout and tallied four of the next six points, narrowing the gap to 23-22. Coach Palileo took a timeout which paid off immediately with the Wildcats hitting long on the next attack and Albright landing a kill for the final point and the 25-22 WSU win.
Arizona came out of the break and took a quick a 10-4 lead in the third set with WSU looking flat in spite of the two-set lead. The Cougars rallied and closed the gap to four points, down 22-19. Arizona scored twice and was serving for set when the tide turned on the Wildcats. A kill from Albright provided the first stop for the Cougs and with the score Arizona 24, WSU 20, the senior tri-captain moved to the service line. Twice, Ganzer traded kills with UA's Dosty's attack errors and the set was tied at 24. After a Wildcat timeout, Dosty hit wide again and Albright ended the set and match with a service ace.
"That was huge, especially the first four serves were all set point and Jackie really did a good job. She put enough pressure on the passers where they had to make a good pass. So it wasn't just an easy serve that she was putting over, there was enough pace on there where they had to focus a little bit," Palileo said. "Defensively Faith (Hutcherson) had two huge digs at the end and she put herself in good position and she made the dig. That's why she's been playing a lot and a little more consistent because she's been able to do that for us and then get her serves in as well. If you look at the point totals in the third set, Arizona earned 22 points and we only earned 17. We shouldn't have won that set and so it came down to critical points and errors."
Ganzer, a 6-3 sophomore from Black Diamond, Wash., reflected on her performance saying, "I think it was a good match for me as far as getting into the season. I know that I came out with a good stats game last game versus Oregon and my goal for the season is to work on consistency. But I thought it was good for me personally. I met my goal which is to try to stay at a good pace."
Washington State plays Arizona State (11-4, 1-2) Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Bohler Gym. The Sun Devils lost to No. 3 Washington Friday night in Seattle with scores of 25-23, 25-16, 25-22.