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Washington State Volleyball Pounces on Bulldogs

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Meagan Ganzer had 30 kills in the Cougars' win over Gonzaga (Photo: WSU Athletics) Meagan Ganzer had 30 kills in the Cougars' win over Gonzaga (Photo: WSU Athletics)

by WSU Athletics

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State junior Meagan Ganzer had her third 30-kills match in the past five contests as the Cougars defeated Gonzaga 25-20, 27-25, 23-25, and 25-19, Tuesday night at Bohler Gym.

Ganzer, second on the NCAA Division I volleyball national kills list coming into this match, had seven errors in 62 attacks for a .371 hitting percentage. Just as impressive were Ganzer's nine digs and match-leading seven blocks.

Cougar seniors Vanessa Murray and Brittany Tillman added another 21 kills. Marcelina Glad added six kills and six blocks. Libero Kaleinani Kabalis contributed 21 digs while Oceana Bush, playing outside hitter, had five kills and 17 digs. Sara Biondi had 58 assist. Jordan Levenseller and Faith Hutcherson each had a pair of service aces. WSU hit .255 for the match and held GU to a .182 hitting percentage.

Gonzaga's Meredith Crenshaw led her team with 11 kills (.400) as Schylur Edelman and Kaprina Goodwin had 10 kills each. Allyson Powell had 21 digs and Laura Day contributed another 14 digs. Denise Van de Mortel had 48 assists. Edelman had a team-high four blocks as the Cougars out-blocked the Bulldogs 11.5 to six.

"My game plan is always to win and to come out aggressive," Ganzer said. "My game plan for this game was to really work on defense - blocking and back row - and we spent a lot of time on that this week. But the win is always the team goal."

Glab, a freshman middle, said, "Meagan is a really good leader for me. She tells me what to be doing and setting the block for me so I can close with her. She is a great role model to have on the team and it definitely helps me out."

The first set was a see-saw battle through the first two-thirds. Ganzer led all players with eight kills (0 errors on 11 attacks for .727 hitting percentage). Ganzer also had the sole block of the opener. WSU needed three attempts at set point before taking the set 25-20.

The Cougs could not shake the Zags in the second set as Gonzaga came from behind to score eight consecutive points and take a 21-15 lead. But WSU came roaring back. The set was tied at 24 points after Edelman's attack went into the net. Ganzer's kill put the Cougs up 25-24 but Edelman hit the target on the next play to knot the score at 25. Vanessa Murray landed scored the next point and freshman Jordan Levenseller went to the back row. Levenseller served a shot that hit the top of the tape and dropped like a stone on the other side of the net. Cougs take the 27-25 win.

Gonzaga took a 20-15 lead in the third but battled back. Down 22-21, Ganzer landed back-to-back soft shots to tie the set at 23. The Bulldogs took a timeout and then Goodwin landed a hard slam to put the visitors up 24-23. After the WSU timeout, Edelman and Cozad stopped a Ganzer attack and grabbed the 25-23 win.

The front row blocking woke up in the fourth set for the Cougars. Ganzer had three, Glab and Murray blocked back two each and Tillman had one stop at the net. WSU hit .400 in this set and dug up 17 balls compared to GU's 11. Final set score was WSU 25, Gonzaga 19.

"In set three we fell behind and they got some momentum and the longer they were in the set the more confidence they got. We were lucky to win set two," WSU Head Coach Andrew Palileo said. "We are letting teams hang in there too much and they gain confidence instead of trying to put them away. Tonight I was just trying to keep the players focused and not worry too much about the things that frustrate me but just keep them on task."

Washington State begins Pacific-10 Conference play Sept. 24 at Oregon, in the final appearance by any Washington State team in "Mac" Court.

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