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 Saturday afternoon at The Pit.
Saturday night, a tired WSU squad managed to win game one, but succumbed to a taller Colorado squad 12-15, 15-9, 15-11, 15-10.
"It wasn't pretty, but it sure was nice to get a win here," said WSU coach Cindy Fredrick, whose team finished the day 5-2 in 1999. "We feel pretty lucky to come out of here with a win."
WSU finished third in the four-team tournament with a 1-2 record. Senior Joy Sperry (Wallace, Idaho) and sophomore Missy Blackshire (Spokane, Wash.) were named to the all-tournament team.
The five-game marathon with the Lobos 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 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. Blackshire 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 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.
In the nightcap, Holly Harris recorded a career-high 17 kills and hit .406, but did not get enough support to lead the Cougars to the upset. Sperry also had 17 kills, while Blackshire added 12 and a career-high four blocks and LaToya Harris had 10. Freshman Melissa Wright (Muncie, Ind.) had a career-high 14 digs.
Colorado may be the best team the Cougars have seen to date in 1999. The Buffs set WSU season opponent highs in kills (90), hitting percentage (.306), assists (78) and blocks (20). Freshman Meghan Barkman led the 23rd-ranked Buffalos (5-1) with 23 kills, while senior setter Kelly Campbell kept the Cougars off balance with 14 kills and 69 assists.
It was just the second-ever meeting between the Buffaloes and Cougars and the first since 1981.
WSU sophomore Kristen Johnson (Olympia, Wash.) saw her first action of the season after missing the first five matches with a strained abdominal muscle. She recorded five kills versus New Mexico and carded seven kills and three blocks against the Buffs.
Washington State will play its third ranked team in four games when No. 7 Stanford visits Pullman for both teams' Pac-10 opener Friday at 7 p.m.
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.
Colorado (5-1) d. Washington State (5-2) 3-1
Game scores: 12-15, 15-9, 15-11, 15-10
STATISTICS: KILLS: Barkman (CU) 23, Nielsen (CU) 18, Campbell (CU) 14, Roberge (CU) 13, H. Harris (WSU) 17, Sperry (WSU) 17, Blackshire (WSU) 12, L. Harris (WSU) 10. ASSISTS: Campbell (CU) 69, Wright (WSU) 59. DIGS: Bowen (CU) 17, Nielsen (CU) 11, Gower (CU) 10, Small (CU) 10, Wright (WSU) 14, Jamtaas (WSU) 14, Sperry (WSU) 12, L. Harris (WSU) 12, H. Harris (WSU) 11. BLOCKS: Barkman (CU) 5, Roberge (CU) 5, Blackshire (WSU) 4, H. Harris (WSU) 4. SERVICE ACES: Campbell (CU) 1, Gower (CU) 1, Small (CU) 1, Blackshire (WSU) 3. Attendance: 421.
1. Texas A&M (2-0)
2. Colorado (2-0)
3. Washington State (1-2)
4. New Mexico (0-3)
Shana Bowen, Colorado
Amber Smith, New Mexico
Summer Strickland, Texas A&M
Amber Woosley, Texas A&M
Missy Blackshire, Washington State
Joy Sperry, Washington State
Kelly Campbell, Colorado