Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Boeing Apple Cup Series Starts In Pullman

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Washington at #7 Washington State, 7 pm | Live Stats
Pullman, Wash. • Bohler Gym
Live on Pac-12 Networks National


Washington at Arizona State, 1 pm | Live Stats

Tempe, Ariz. • Mullett Arena

Live on Pac-12 Networks Washington

SEATTLE — The final year of Pac-12 play kicks off with a bang for the Husky volleyball team this week, as UW makes two road trips in a four day span to Pullman, Wash. and Tempe, Ariz. It’s a big challenge for the Dawgs, who finished non-conference play with a 9-2 record, as the rival Cougars are ranked No. 7 nationally and Arizona State is a perfect 12-0. Each match will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks, the first televised matches of the year for the Huskies.

UW and WSU play the first round of the Boeing Apple Cup Series this Thursday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. in Bohler Gym. Then the Huskies will fly south for one match in the desert, playing the Sun Devils on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m. in Mullett Arena.

Through 11 nonconference matches, the Huskies have been one of the best serving teams in the NCAA with 2.44 aces per set, which ranks in the top-10 nationally and second in the Pac-12. UW is fourth in the Pac with 14.05 digs per set, but UW will be aiming to improve on a .229 attack percentage that ranks just 11th in the conference right now. All of UW’s outside hitters have had stretches of greatness, consistently bringing it together is what the Dawgs will need to make waves in the loaded Pac-12. May Pertofsky and Madi Endsley are averaging identical 3.08 kills per set, while Kierstyn Barton is at 2.73 and Audra Wilmes at 2.33. Barton had an epic 26 kills outing last week at Cal Poly, carrying UW to the five set win and showing how much potential for growth the team has. Lauren Bays has been a key player with all the changes, as the third-year starter ranks second in the Pac-12 in digs (4.12/set) and aces (0.56/set).

WSU broke into the top-10 for the first time this week after upsetting Texas in Austin last week, along with recent big wins over ranked Baylor and BYU teams. WSU’s only loss was to a top-five Louisville team. This is the first time since 2002 that the Cougars are ranked higher than the Huskies at the time of their match.

Senior All-American middle Magda Jehlarova leads WSU and leads the Pac-12 with 1.40 blocks per set while ranking second with a .455 attack percentage. WSU is hitting .316 as a team, with former Arizona State transfer Iman Isanovic posting 3.65 kills per set hitting .364. Pia Timmer adds 3.24 kills per set and Katy Ryan is posting 2.62 and hitting .363. Karly Basham averages 4.03 digs per set. 

The only team with better offensive numbers than WSU is ASU, though ASU has not faced a ranked opponent in its 12-0 start. Arizona State is hitting a whopping .349 as a team and the only team with a higher aces rate than the Dawgs at 2.56. Marta Levinska is the current Pac-12 Player of the Week and is averaging 3.97 kills per set hitting .372. No Sun Devil averaging more than 1.00 kill per set is hitting lower than .333 right now. Setter Shannon Shields is averaging 10.36 assists per set. JJ Van Niel is in his first year as head coach of the Sun Devils.


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