Those who have filled the Devaney Sports Center over the years have seen an endless amount of great volleyball in the building.
So it was of no surprise to see fans — including those who were trickling in to watch the main event — stand up and applaud a first-set nail-biter between Washington State and Florida State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
The Cougars and Seminoles were locked at 25-25, then 26-26, then 27-27. They each scrapped to 32 before Washington State scored the final two points to take the set.
That set the tone for the Cougars’ 34-32, 25-14, 23-25, 25-13 win.
“I think it was huge,” said WSU junior Taylor Mims, who had a monster match (we’ll get to that shortly). “It was a big momentum shift I feel onto the second set. Those crazy rallies … I think really kept us in the game, and the crowd got involved, got us pumped up.”
The first set went so long that the Cougars (18-15) ran out of substitutes.
“(Outside hitter) Savanah Smith had to serve, which she has done one other time when we ran out of subs, so that was huge,” WSU coach Jen Greeny said.
“I think it’s definitely great to win the set (like that), but it’s much worse to lose it.”
Mims, who was recently named an all-Pac-12 performer had a career-high 28 kills, 22 digs and six blocks. The 6-foot-3 junior started the season at middle blocker before moving to outside hitter.
“I think our back-row attack connection worked pretty well,” Mims said. “That’s the best I’ve ever hit out of the back row this entire season.”
Four Cougars finished in double figures in kills. Joining Mims was Jocelyn Urias (13 kills), Claire Martin (10) and Ella Lajos (10).
Florida State (18-11) was led by Taryn Knuth, who had 16 kills. Cecilie Woie had 31 digs.