College volleyball: No. 17 Washington St. takes down No. 9 Stanford for first time since 2002
PULLMAN, Wash. -- The No. 17 Washington State volleyball team (13-2 overall, 3-0 Pac-12) scored its third consecutive upset win over a higher-ranked team with a 3-2 victory over No. 9 Stanford (9-3, 3-1) Friday night before a 14-year best crowd of 2,522 in Bohler Gym. The set scores were 25-15, 17-25, 26-24, 26-28, and 15-8.
This was WSU's fourth win over the Cardinal in 61 matches, and the first time the Cougars have defeated Stanford since 2002: a 3-1 win in Pullman.
"It is a huge win against a really good Stanford team," Cougar head coach Jen Greeny said. "I felt that our team was really resilient tonight. There were some ups and downs but we stuck with it. And to get it done in five, it is just a tremendous victory for this team, and another step in the right direction,"
Cougar senior Kyra Holt led the match with 17 kills and had five blocks. She became WSU's all-time scoring leader with a career total of 1,726 points, eclipsing Megan Ganzer's 2008-11 record of 1,707.5 points. The balanced WSU offense included 13 kills each from McKenna Woodford and Taylor Mims with Mims hitting .462 for the match. Casey Schoenlein contributed a career-high 12 kills. Haley MacDonald had 33 assists and Nicole Rigoni added 21 assists.
It was a battle of the top blocking teams in the nation as Mims led the Cougs with eight blocks with Claire Martin adding seven and Schoenlein adding five more. WSU, ranked third in team blocks per set coming into the match, was out-blocked by Stanford, second nationally coming into the contest, 17 to 16. The team hitting percentages were not stellar with WSU hitting .133 and Stanford hitting .117, but the other aspects of the Cougars' game made the difference in the match.
WSU won the digs battle with freshman Alexis Dirige leading the match with a career-high 26 of the Cougars' 62 digs. Stanford had 54 digs. This is the third match of the 2016 season that WSU has served eight aces with Woodford and Stephens each contributing a pair and a strong receiving effort kept the Cardinal at three aces.
"We've always had the passion," Holt said about this historic win. "It's just believing in ourselves and transitioning from practice to the game, and that's all we did. We just had to make adjustments to their adjustments later in the game and I think we did that perfectly, that's why we won. It means everything having the support from everyone in Pullman is just awesome, and it really helps us."
Stanford's leaders were Kathryn Plummer with 13 kills and seven blocks, Inky Ajanaku with 12 kills and nine blocks, Audriana Fitzmorris with 11 kills (.400) and six blocks, and Merete Lutz with 11 kills and six blocks.
When asked about spreading out the offense opportunities to different players Greeny said: "That's very important. It all starts with our passing. When our passing is on we can really get our middles going. Taylor Mims was very involved, had a great match."
"It feels absolutely amazing," senior setter Haley MacDonald said. "Fifth sets were not our thing last year and previous years so to come out and stay poised and when in the fifth set is awesome. Great victory."
WSU takes on California (6-7, 0-3) Sunday at 11 a.m. in Bohler Gym.