PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State swept by South Dakota 25-16, 25-17, 25-22 Saturday night in Bohler Gym to win the two-day Cougar Challenge Tournament and keep its season record unblemished at 7-0.
Washington State’s Ver’Leea Hardaway was named the MVP and Jaicee Harris was tabbed to the all-tournament team. The Cougars were joined by Tori Kroll and Audrey Reeg from South Dakota, Lindsay Niemeier from Eastern Washington, Rachel Brummitt from Texas Tech, and Kayla Reno from Montana.
“Ver’Leea is playing very well and we really want to run our offense from the middle out and both Ver’Leea and Marcelina Glab have been playing really well and I’m so very proud of them,” Cougar Head Coach Jen Green said.
Freshman Kyra Holt led WSU in the win over South Dakota (5-3) with a match-high 13 kills while hitting .306. Fellow frosh Emmy Allen tallied eight kills and hit .462. Hardaway, Harris and Marcelina Glab each added seven kills. Glab was the blocks leader with four and Kate Sommer and Shawna Lum combined for 22 digs.
South Dakota’s stats leaders were Kendall Kritenbrink with 11 kills and three blocks, Audrey Reeg with 14 digs, and Tori Kroll with 31 assists.
WSU senior Camryn Irwin (Brush Prairie, Wash.) set up 37 assists and advanced her career assists total to 2,605, passing volunteer coach Kali Surplus Gesser to take fifth-place on the WSU all-time list.
“We played good teams this weekend and we really had to fight at times,” Greeny said. “Overall I thought we did really well and especially offensively. We’ve been thinking one weekend at a time so to be at 7-0 at this point is great and going into two more weekends of preseason before we start Pac-12 play will be great.”
Earlier in the afternoon, Holt (17 kills, 19 digs) and Harris (17 kills, 14 digs) led WSU to a 25-16, 25-19, 26-28, 25-11 win over Montana (1-5) Saturday afternoon. Hardaway added 12 kills, hit .421, and had six blocks. Irwin tallied 48 assists and Sommer had 18 digs. WSU hit .303 for the match and held Montana to a .097 hitting percentage. Montana’s stats leaders were Gabby Crowell with 12 kills and 12 digs, Kortney James ahd 18 assists and 11 digs, and Megan Murphey had 15 digs. The Griz led the match in blocks as Kelsey Schile, Natalie Jones and Brooke Bray each had five blocks. WSU won the first two sets easily holding UM to -.074 and .107 hitting percentages while hitting .360 and .316. In the third set WSU was up 21-18 when the Griz made a strong run, scoring four straight points to take a 22-21 lead. It was a see-saw battle after that until Harris overhit and Montana’s Kayla Reno scored the 28-26 win.
In other tournament play Saturday, South Dakota defeated Texas Tech 3-1, and Eastern Washington defeated Texas Tech 3-1.
Next weekend Washington State travels to Huntsville, Texas, for the Sam Houston State Invitational taking on Jackson State, Lamar and host Sam Houston State.