No. 17 Cougar Volleyball Upsets No. 1 Stanford
Adrian Hankoff couldn’t have scripted her final regular-season home game for the Washington State University Cougars any better.
The outside hitter from South Lake Tahoe and four other Cougar seniors upset No. 1 Stanford in possibly their final match in Bohler Gym in Pullman, Wash.
“It was really emotional and a great way to go out,” said Hankoff, a 1999 South Tahoe High School graduate. “All of the seniors hugged each other and we cried for five minutes after it was over.”
There were few signs of the upset since the Cardinal had only lost three times coming into the match. But WSU coach Cindy Fredrick gave the Cougars a prematch pep talk that worked for Hankoff.
“She told us everyone needs to be on tonight and we pretty much were, especially LaToya (Harris),” Hankoff said.
Harris, a senior, had a career-high 29 kills and 18 digs as the 17th-ranked Cougars won the Pacific-10 match 31-29, 30-24, 23-30, 30-26 with a record 2,539 watching.
With the victory, Washington State moved to 19-7 overall, including a fourth-place mark of 9-7 in Pac-10 play; Stanford fell to 25-4 and 14-3. More importantly for the Cougars, the win over a top-ranked team will look good on their resume when NCAA tournament invitations come out in two weeks.
“This gives us a lot momentum going into the tournament and will give us a good seed as well,” Hankoff said. “This kind of ensures us a place in the tournament if we win (this week) and this will give us a good chance to host the first two rounds.”
The win was the first in school history for the Cougar volleyball program over a number one-ranked team. It was also the second time in the careers of the five WSU seniors playing their final home match that the Cougars knocked off the Cardinal. The last time was a 3-1 win in 2001.
Senior Kortney Jamtaas registered a school-record 34 digs and Hankoff delivered 13 kills.
“These seniors have provided four really great years,” Fredrick said. “They’ve been a really tight group and they’ve worked really hard together. For them to go out this way, it really couldn’t have been more perfect. Its like the magical ending of their college careers.”
Stanford was led by Ogonna Nnamani’s 25 kills, while three-time All-American Logan Tom had 19 kills and 21 digs.
In game one, the Cougars raced to an 8-1 lead with Harris contributing two kills a block solo. Stanford battled back to tie the game twice and eventually took a 29-28 lead on a block solo by Logan Tom.
However, the Cougars tied the game on a kill by sophomore Victoria Prince before attack errors by the Cardinal’s Sara McGee and Tom gave WSU the 31-29 win.
In the first half of game two, Harris was on fire as the southpaw earned the Cougars’ first five points with four kills and an ace. Three more Harris kills during a 5-1 run gave WSU a 15-10 advantage.
The teams traded points until kills by Nnamani and Tom sandwiched around an Adrian Hankoff attack error cut the Cardinal deficit to 18-16.
A kill by Hankoff, a block by Prince and senior Chelsie Schafer, and an attack error by Stanford increased the Cougars’ advantage to 21-16. From there the two teams again played even until Harris closed the match with a kill for the 30-24 win.
Game three saw Stanford use a 5-0 run to jump out to a 6-2 lead. WSU aided the run with three hitting errors. Twice the Cougars closed to within two, but a 9-2 run put Stanford up 17-9 and the Cardinal cruised to the 30-23 victory.
In game four, the Cardinal recorded a 7-1 run to take what seemed to be an insurmountable 19-12 advantage. However, the Cougars showed their grit by scoring 10 of the next 12 points to take a 22-21 lead.
A kill by freshman Ance Auzina and a pair of attack errors by Tom brought the Cougars to within 19-15. After a Harris kill, Tom stopped the momentum with a kill and a block to give Stanford a 21-16 lead.
The Cougars rallied for the next six points on kills by Schafer, Harris and Prince, an attack error by Tom and pair of block assists from Prince and Schafer.
The teams traded three points until a Schafer attack errors gave the lead back to Stanford at 25-24. The Cougars were resilient once again as they closed the match with a 6-1 run.
Senior Holly Harris started the rally with a kill to tie the game at 25. A dig by Kortney Jamtaas found its way over the net and down on the Stanford side for a 26-25 WSU lead. Freshman Brenn Larson, who posted 60 assists, followed with a kill and then combined with Holly Harris for a block to push the advantage to 28-25.
Sara McGee brought Stanford back to within 28-26 with a kill. The match ended with back-to-back Cardinal miscues as McGee and Nnamani misfired on back-to-back kill attempts to end the match.
On Friday night, the Cougars swept California 30-19, 30-19 and 30-27 as Hankoff provided 14 digs, 12 kills, one block and one service ace.
Washington State will end the regular season with matches at Oregon on Thursday and and at Oregon State Friday.
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