Mims, Woodford, and Urias lead the way offensively for the Cougars in the four-set win.

Mims, Woodford, and Urias lead the way offensively for the Cougars in the four-set win.

The No. 16 seeded Washington State Cougars (22-9) downed Northern Arizona in the opening round of the NCAA Championship Tournament in four sets inside Bohler Gym.

Set scores from the match were: 25-23, 25-15, 22-25, and 25-21 in favor of the Cougars.

The opening set of this NCAA Championship Tournament first round match saw both the Cougars and The Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona (26-9) come out swinging, as three ties would occur within the first six overall points scored in this set. NAU found a bit of separation with a 3-1 run to hold down a slim lead of 14-12 midway through the first game. Washington State was ready with a counter attack, first creating a 3-0 scoring run, and then topped off the set with a 5-0 run to hold the 23-21 advantage. Jocelyn Urias recorded a pair of kills to cap off the set one victory at 25-23 overall.

Set number two brought the same intensity and post-season atmosphere as the first, but a 6-1 run from the Cougars midway through the round created the separation the home squad needed. Kills from Ella Lajos , Taylor Mims , and Urias, along with an Alexis Dirige ace helped fuel WSU out the a solid lead over the Lumberjacks. Washington State built yet another run to end set two, winning seven straight points to put away Northern Arizona on back-to-back Urias aces.

Washington State took control of set number three early with a 6-0 run, backed by multiple Mims service aces, and back-to-back kills from McKenna Woodford for the 9-5 advantage. Northern Arizona slowly began to chip away at the home lead, ultimately taking not only the lead in the set, but winning it as well with a 7-1 run overall to claim the round at 25-22.

The Cougars came out in set number four focused and ready to reclaim the home energy of Bohler with a 5-1 run after a pair of kills from Lajos, and another added by Mims. Additional scoring runs created by Washington State of 4-0, and 3-0 with some offensive help from Ashley Brown , and Woodford to see the home squad take a 20-14 lead. WSU continued to hold strong against the Lumberjacks as kills from Claire Martin , and Woodford helped seal the NCAA Tournament first round victory at 3-1 overall.

Jocelyn Urias had a fantastic overall offensive game, but she stepped up on the court tonight with four total service aces to lead Washington State and tie her career-high in the stat category.


McKenna Woodford anchored the offense with a team-high 16 kills in the contest, along with adding two block assists to her stat sheet.
Taylor Mims posted a solid night with double-digit kills totaling 14 overall, and added three aces to her game as well.
Ashley Brown continued to guide the offensive attack with 54 assists, and notched another double-double with 11 digs.
Claire Martin provided the strong defensive front on the night with four total blocks, totaling three block assists, and one solo.

The Cougars will gear up for the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament tomorrow, Saturday, December 1, as WSU will host the University of Tennessee inside Bohler Gym, with first serve scheduled for 6 p.m. PT.