Sept. 13, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash. -- The Washington State volleyball team competed a two-match win day with a 25-20, 25-16, 25-20 win over Northwestern Saturday night to take second place at the Cougar Challenge Volleyball tournament on Marcia Saneholtz Court at Bohler Gym.
WSU, now 6-4, was led by the 11 kills from Jackie Albright while Emily Rooney and Cassie Robbins both contributed 9 kills each to the nightcap win. Setter Renee Bordelon tallied 34 assists and was named to the all-tournament team along with Cougar libero, Kelly Hyder, who tagged 18 digs against NU. Brittany Tillman had three blocks.
Northwestern, 4-4, was led by Sable Moffett's 12 kills (.348) and three blocks. Brittani Gray added eight kills while Elyse Glab had 33 assists and libero Kate Nobilio contributed 19 digs.
WSU ran out to a 12-7 lead after reeling off five straight points. The Wildcats hustled back to knot up the set at 16. The Cougars scored the next four points from Johnson's kill, solo block, combined block with Rooney and an ace from Bordelon. WSU out-scored NU five to four with Albright and Tillman put the finishing touches on the 25-20 set win with a trio of kills. Albright had six kills and hit .429 in this set.
The Cougars took an 11-3 lead in the second set and extended it to an 18-9 gain. Northwestern was plagued by errors in this set and Washington State took full advantage, hitting .344 as a team and holding the Wildcats to .022. WSU wins the set 25-16.
The third set was never in doubt as WSU maintained the offensive momentum and kept steady defensive pressure on the Wildcats to lead from first serve to the final 25-20 end score.
"It was a good day," first-year Cougar Head Coach Andrew Palileo said. "We played two different caliber teams and two different systems. We beat Montana State by not playing our best in handling the ball and taking care of things on our side of the net. Tonight we did a lot better job of doing that with the exception of the one four-point run in set one but after that, all the players got it back together a little bit quicker than they had been in the previous matches. I thought we played well against Wichita State except tonight our outsides created some shots for themselves and did a better job of finishing points out. I thought we played consistent all weekend long and it is just a matter of continuing to take those steps, like I've been telling the team, in the direction of trying to improve before we start our conference season."
Hyder, a junior from Huntington Beach, Calif., moved into second place on the WSU all-time career digs list with 1,245, commenting on her play so far this season, "Physically I'm in better shape (because) I was injured last year and I'm feeling healthy this year. We have changed a lot of things defensively with footwork and location on the court. I'm still learning it but I feel more comfortable having a plan and knowing what I'm supposed to be doing."
On comparing this weekend's performance with the previous weekend, setter Bordelon, a junior transfer from North Idaho College, said, "I think we came together and connected really well. Our consistency improved a lot. I try to stay calm and keep the team from getting too excited or too down after each play."
Wichita State (11-0) won the tournament with three 3-0 wins including the Saturday afternoon defeat of Montana State 25-18, 25-16, 25-22. Emily Stockman and Angela Jakubov combined for 22 kills to lead the Shockers while Sara McGee had four blocks and Kelly Broussard has 12 digs. Montana State's Kaytlin Van Burger had eight kills to lead the Bobcats (3-7).
Washington State returns to Marcia Saneholtz Court in Bohler Gym Friday, Sept. 19, for the final non-conference match of the season against Utah Valley University.
Cougar Challenge Tournament Final Standings
Wichita State 3-0 Washington State 2-1 Northwestern 1-2 Montana State 0-3
Cougar Challenge All-tournament team:
MVP Emily Stockman, Wichita State Lindsey Eckenrode, Wichita State Angels Jakubov, Wichita State Renee Bordelon, Washington State Kelly Hyder, Washington State Sabel Moffett, Northwestern