Volleyball Advances to NCAA Sweet 16
Dec. 7, 2002
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The 11th-ranked and 12th-seeded Washington State University volleyball team overcame a strong Kansas State team with a 3-1 win in the second round of the NCAA Div. I Women's Volleyball Championship tournament to advance to the Sweet 16 next weekend.
Washington State won the match with game scores of 32-30, 21-30, 30-22, 31-29, and moved to a record of 23-7 on the season. Kansas State, ranked 22nd but not a top 16 seed in the tournament, ends the year at 21-9.
This is the third time the WSU team has advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Volleyball Championship Tournament. The previous years were in 1996, and again in 1997 - the same year the Cougar football team won the Pac-10 Championship and appeared in the Rose Bowl.
"This was an incredibly intense match," Cougar Coach Cindy Fredrick said. "Coming into it we kind of felt like we were the underdog even though we were the top seed. We watched Kansas State play and I have a lot of respect for them. They have some great hitters, they make very, very few mistakes and we knew we would have to play some great volleyball tonight in order to beat them. (Your) crowd is quite amazing so we knew we would have to overcome that since we're used to that in our own gym. We anticipated this would be a tought win on the road."
WSU senior LaToya Harris led all players with 23 kills but teammates Adrian Hankoff, Holly Harris and Chelsie Schafer combined for 38 kills. Senior Libero had 23 digs. Setter Brenn Larson had 59 assists and 14 digs. Holly Harris led the match with six blocks but Hankoff added five to the Cougar cause. WSU had 14 service errors in the four games and only five aces.
K-State was led by the 20 kills of Lauren Goehring (.436) and Lisa Martin added 15 kills and five blocks. Gabby Guerre had 44 assists and Laura Downey-Wallace had 23 digs.
This was the first non-conference loss for Kansas State at Ahearn Field House since 1993.
WSU let an early five-point lead (14-9) in the first game disappear to a tie at 18. The game see-sawed with WSU maintaining a one to two point lead but there were seven more ties until kills from Goehring and Pollard gave Kansas State the first lead of the game, 27-26. Fredrick called a timeout and LaToya Harris came out with back-to-back kills for a 28-27 Cougar lead. KSU took a timeout and Goehring and Cari Jensen responded with kills for a 29-28 lead. Harris scored again to tie it up and a lift called on KSU setter Guerre put WSU ahead 30-29. Prince jump-served into the net and the game was knotted again. Harris used a mid-air change-up and tipped the ball for the 31st Cougar point. Holly Harris and Larson teamed up for a block of Lisa Martin to end the game in WSU's favor, 32-30.
K-State came out with more intensity for game two and it showed as Wildcats left WSU in the dust after nine points. The Cougars committed another five service errors in the second game and the KSU defense kept WSU on their heels. K-State out-dug the Cougs 23 to 12 on the way to their 30-21 win.
Washington State found redemption in the third game by dominating the home-court Wildcats. LaToya Harris had six kills and hit .625 as the Cougars hit .387 as a team and held K-State to .161, in spite of Goehring's six kills and perfect hitting percentage. WSU wins the third, 30-22.
The fourth game was a nail-biter as the Cougs trailed by at least two points most of the game. An Adrian Hankoff serve that hit the net and dribbled over to hit the floor for an ace tied the game at 18. The teams traded points until K-State scored two consecutive and WSU answered with three straight, Cougars down 24-23. The Wildcats took their final timeout and found a couple of quick points as Larson was called for a double-hit and Katie Stanzel blocked Hankoff at the net. Holly Harris countered with a kill but Martin returned the favor and KSU was up 27-24. With the Wildcats within striking distance of the win, Hankoff took matters into her own hands. The senior outside hitter blocked Martin and followed that with a powerful slam down the right line to put WSU within one at 26. Goehring landed a point on a quick-set but LaToya Harris came back with a cross court slam. Goehring's 20 kill of the match put Kansas State at game point, 29-27 but the Cougs were not ready to give in. Harris slammed another kill but Guerre was called for a double-hit and that tied the game at 29. Schafer went up and over the blockers to tip a ball and gave WSU the first lead of the game, 30-29. Prince, after committing four service errors in the match, lined up and landed an ace to end the game, 31-29, and push WSU into the Sweet 16.
"When I went back to serve the last serve, I just knew I had to get it over the net because I have a great team and they would make sure it didn't come back over our side," Prince said. "I was very confident because I knew I had my team backing me up."
Although the Cougars' next opponent, Northern Iowa, is the higher ranked seed in the East Region at number four, they did not submit a bid to host the regional action and it appears No. 5 Florida will host the action next weekend. The Cougars will learn their next location of play sometime Sunday, Dec. 8.
No. 11 Washington State (23-7) 32 21 30 31 No. 22 Kansas State (21-9) 30 30 22 29 STATISTICS: KILLS - WSU 76 (L. Harris 23), KSU 60 (Goehring 20) HITTING PERCENTAGE - WSU .243, KSU .203 ASSISTS - WSU 63 (Larson 59), KSU 49 (Guerre 44) DIGS - WSU 79 (Jamtaas 23), KSU 86 (Downey-Wallace 23) BLOCKS - WSU 10 (H. Harris 6), KSU 10.5 (Martin 5) SERVICE ACES - WSU 5 (five players with on each), KSU 6 (K. Jensen, Sleichter 2 each) Attendance: 812
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