Nov. 16, 2008
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The Washington State volleyball team needed all five sets to hand new coach Andrew Palileo his first Pacific-10 Conference win but the Cougs triumphed 25-17, 15-25, 21-25, 26-24, 15-12, over Oregon State Sunday afternoon in a two-hour and 12 minute contest at Gill Coliseum.
WSU, now 8-18 overall and 1-14 in Pac-10 action, was led by a trio of Cougs as Jackie Albright had 13 kills and 16 digs, Brittany Johnson had 12 kills, a season-high 15 digs and three blocks, and Brittany Tillman had 10 kills and eight blocks. Emily Rooney added nine kills, two aces and three blocks and freshman Meagan Ganzer contributed seen kills and three blocks. Renee Bordelon had 42 assists, seven digs and four blocks. Freshman Bree Flach had a career-high 29 digs. The Cougars hit only .148 for the match but out-blocked OSU 12 to 9. WSU had not won a Pac-10 match since defeating the Beavers to end the 2007 season, 3-2, in Pullman.
Oregon State, 14-13 overall, 3-11 in conference play, suffered its sixth consecutive loss. Rachel Rourke and Jill Sawatzky who combined for 44 kills as the Beavs hit .184 for the match. Kiersten Sambrailo had seven blocks and Rourke added another four blocks. Setter Camilla Ah-Hoy had 63 assists and Ashley Evans had 26 digs.
"This was a great win for us," WSU Head Coach Andrew Palileo said. "In the beginning, I was only going to give them (WSU players) one question at the end, `did we leave it all out there?' To make sure we didn't go out and show we're giving up and throwing in the towel because we haven't won. Because I knew we were close (to winning) and we executed a lot of good things tonight. I give credit to the players who hung in there and battled all day long."
Senior co-captain Brittany Johnson added, "We had nothing to lose. We came out and played every single ball, we were aggressive and played well as a team. I think that's what pulled us out tonight."
The Cougs came out ready to play and took a commanding first set lead at 10-2, extending it to a 22-11 lead. The Beavers put together a trio of points late in the match to come within seven of the Cougs, 23-16, but the visitors prevailed and claimed the 25-17 win. This is the third set win for WSU in Pac-10 play this season. Rooney led the Cougs with four kills and Tillman added three kills in this set as WSU had 10 kills with no errors on 24 attacks for a .417 hitting percentage. OSU hit .079 in the opener.
As WSU dominated the opening set, OSU took control of the second set. The Beavers had a six-point run mid-way through the set and went on to grab the 25-15 win. OSU hit .200 for this set and held WSU to a -.095 hitting percentage.
The teams traded multiple runs of points in the early third set with Oregon State moving ahead 13-6 after a four-point effort. WSU out-scored the home team nine to four, including tallying four in a row, to close to within two points, down 17-15. OSU battled back with three consecutive points for a five-point lead. Tillman landed three kills and a block to keep the visitors in contention. The Beavs were ahead 23-19 when they committed a service error and a setter lift to put the Cougars within two, down 23-21. WSU's setting error and attack error ended the set in OSU's favor, 25-21.
The Beavers had a 16-11 lead in the fourth set when WSU's Johnson had three kills among a Cougar four-point run. OSU went up 18-16 when the Cougs tallied another four-point run to tie and then take a 20-18 lead. After a Knitter kill, Albright and Ganzer landed kills to go ahead 22-19. Rourke went on a four-kill run with an additional point by Sambrailo as the onslaught was only interrupted by Tillman's kill, and OSU went ahead 24-23. Albright's kill stopped OSU at match point. Johnson and Tillman combined on a block to put WSU at set point. Tillman ended the set with a kill and the Cougs took the set, 26-24.
WSU took a quick 3-0 lead in the fifth set but OSU kept the score within one point until Albright's kill and then ace serve put the Cougs up 11-8. After an OSU timeout, Sawatzky hit into the net and the Beavs took their last timeout. Rourke landed a kill and Johnson's errant attack placed OSU within two, down 12-10. WSU took a timeout. Albright hit into the net but redeemed herself by landing a kill on the next serve. Johnson's 12 kill of the match put WSU serving for match point. Swatazky's kill made the score 14-12, but a kill from Rooney ended the set at 15-12, gave WSU the 3-2 win, and ended a 15-match losing streak.
"I think we have a great opportunity in our last four matches to really set the tone, especially the seniors, for putting this program in the right direction," Palileo said. "We had a well-rounded effort on the offensive side but it is not about the stats and the numbers it is when you produce. That was great about a lot of the kills today, it was kills in critical situations and that is the effort and confidence I have wanted to see out of our players."
"We need to make sure we come out with the same intensity and the same sense of teamwork for these last three home matches," Johnson said when asked if the Cougs could sustain the winning ways.
Washington State hosts No. 5 Washington (21-4, 12-3) Friday, Nov. 21, in an 8 p.m. match at Bohler Gym. Fans who attend the 6 p.m. WSU men's basketball game against Sacramento State in Beasley Coliseum can use their ticket stubs to attend the Cougs-Dawgs volleyball match free of charge. The four Cougar senior volleyball players will be honored before this match.