Swenson Gym erupted in cheers Thursday night, as the Weber State University Women’s Volleyball team defeated Big Sky Conference rival the Idaho State University Bengals in four sets.
The WSU Wildcats jumped out and took the lead early in the first set, but the Bengals remained close, trailing by four points or fewer throughout most of the set. The Wildcats broke away later in the first set, and won it by a score of 25-15. In the second set, WSU scored quickly, taking a 3-0 lead to start. The Bengals immediately came back and passed WSU, taking an 8-4 lead. The Bengals managed to keep scoring, despite the best efforts of the Wildcats, and ended up winning the second set by the score of 25-21, tying the match at one set a piece.
The Bengals came back out onto the court and were on fire, jumping out to a 7-1 lead over WSU in the third set. The Wildcats fought back though, getting within two points of Idaho State, and finally tying it up at 16-16. ISU regained the lead after a brief timeout, but WSU could not be stopped as they tied the game at 20-20, took the lead, and finally won the set 25-21 in an impressive come from behind win.
The atmosphere grew tense as both teams came back onto the court for the fourth set, the crowd was on the edge of their seats as they watched WSU take a 7-5 lead, only to see the score tied at 11-11 moments later. But the fire in the Wildcats could not be extinguished, as they fought to maintain a late 19-17 lead. The last few minutes saw WSU jumping out and then ISU clawing its way back, making it a close 23-19 game. The Bengals tried to make something happen, but came up short as the Wildcats scored the final point and defeated Idaho State three sets to one for their second win of the year.
The game saw many Wildcats attaining season-high and career-high numbers, as WSU recorded 19.5 blocks, their second highest total of the season. Junior middle blocker Dama Cox had a great game, making a career high 14 kills and 11 blocks. After the game, she was very excited about how the team performed.
“I feel like we work hard in practice but sometimes it doesn’t show up in our games,” Cox said “Tonight we showed that we can bring it in games.”
One thing that most of the team agreed on is that they have improved greatly on their hitting since the beginning of the season. Junior setter Caitlin Penrod also had a good night, making 37 assists and a career high 12 digs. Penrod said that their hitting was much more effective Thursday, and that was something that the coaches have been emphasizing in practice.
“Volleyball is a game of momentum, of ups and downs,” Penrod said. “We had a lot more ups than downs tonight and that’s why we won.”
Head Coach Tom Peterson was very pleased with how the team performed Thursday, saying that, “Usually when you lose a lot of games it’s an opportunity to grumble and to slack off and say ‘We’re not first place, we’ve got all these losses’ but we haven’t. We’ve worked hard in practice and we’ve been great.”
WSU’s next game will be akin to David fighting Goliath, as the Wildcats will be taking on the first place Sacramento State Hornets in Sacramento, Cali. on November 4. Coach Peterson pointed out that SSU is one of the top blocking teams in the conference, but if the Wildcats can keep up with the blocking, they stand a good shot at winning.
Cox said if the team can continue to play like they did against ISU, they have a good chance of upsetting the Hornets.
“If we keep hitting hard,” Cox said, “and being aggressive, we can get results.”