Aug. 29, 2008
BOISE, Idaho -- The Washington State volleyball team, under the direction of new head coach Andrew Palileo, came from behind to defeat Cal State Northridge 3-2 in the opening match of the Boise State Bronco Invitational tournament at Bronco Gym Friday. The set scores for the two-hour match were 25-12, 23-25, 19-25, 25-20, 15-10.
"It was a good win for us," Palileo said. "Overall I'm pleased with the way we played with regard to three of the five sets. It was one of those matches where I'm happy that we went through this in the early part of the season and I think we grew a lot from that."
WSU dominated the first set (previously called games) and took a 25-12 win but then was on the ropes after dropping the next two sets. The Cougs were behind in the fourth set but rallied back to win by five and led the fifth game from start to finish. This is the 17th time in the past 18 seasons that the Cougar volleyball team has won its season-opening match.
Junior Jackie Albright (Lake Forest, Calif.) led the Cougars with 17 kills, 12 digs and three blocks while South Dakota State transfer Emily Rooney (senior, Red Wing, Minn.) added 12 kills (.385), two aces and five blocks. Sophomore Brittany Tillman (Tacoma, Wash.) added 10 kills (.444) and two blocks. Setters Breann Nesselhuf (freshman, Swink, Colo.) and Renee Bordelon (junior, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) each had 26 assists. Stephanie Weishaar (senior, Camas, Wash.) led the Cougs with 13 digs.
The CSUN Matadors were led by Jen Probert's 14 kills while Angela Hupp added 10 kills and 25 assists. Val Kepler had five blocks and Kelly Hanson had a match-high 19 digs.
Washington State hit .209 for the match and held Cal State Northridge to a .171 hitting percentage.
"We started out pretty strong tonight," Palileo said. "Our defense was solid in the first game and we served pretty tough and that is how we were able to put the pressure on them and we stayed in the system a lot longer running our plays.
"In the second and third games Northridge did a better job of playing steady we got a little out of our realm there. The fourth set we found a lineup with Nessy (Nesselhuf) going to the outside and Renee being our setter. Emily (Rooney) and all our hitters did a pretty good job of keeping their errors down. Set five was huge. We got out ahead and it was all about confidence and a little bit of momentum from the fourth set."
The Cougars play Seattle University Saturday morning and host Boise State Saturday evening. In the Friday evening match, Seattle U swept Boise State 3-0.