The Weber State University volleyball team won a game and lost a game during a pair of Big Sky Conference matches at home in Ogden last weekend.
The Wildcats fought a lengthy battle against Montana State University on Friday night, and, with little rest, came back to challenge the University of Montana on Saturday night. The team played the matches with a shortened week after a home win against the University of Texas-Pan American last Monday night.
Against MSU, the Wildcats found themselves in a tight match that went all the way to a fifth set.
The Wildcats came out early and won the first set with a score of 25-22, but the Bobcats answered back to win the second set at 15-25. WSU won the third set at 25-18, but was unable to take the fourth from MSU with a 19-25 finish.
With the sets at 2-2, a necessary fifth set was played to declare a match-winner. WSU gave an early 9-4 lead to the Bobcats and were unable to make up for lost ground. The Wildcats lost the final set at 8-15, and the match was given to MSU, which won 3-2 in sets.
Although WSU couldn’t close out the match, a few statistical highlights included 12 kills and five blocks from junior Briana Wilms, 10 kills and three blocks from junior Piper Wahlin, nine kills from both Audrey Biggs and Dama Cox, and seven blocks from freshman Audrey Gee.
“I am a little bit emotional, of course,” said WSU Head Coach Tom Peterson. “I hate losing. Everyone should hate losing . . . but still, I thought that we did well for longer periods of time. We went five sets with a really nice team. That team thought we did very well and their coach thought we did really well; it’s a nice compliment. But it just gets to you, because you just want to play for those extra little points that keep you in a groove. I thought we had a shot tonight . . .”
Gee said that a losing factor for the Wildcats was difficulty in following their game strategy.
“I think,” she said, “when we stuck to the game plan that we had planned, we played well. But when we went out of character and did things that we don’t normally do, that’s when we lost. That’s when our play started to go down.”
Despite a difficult loss, WSU was ready to bounce back and recharge for another opportunity to snag a home win.
For Parents’ Night on Saturday, the Wildcats fought UM in another nail-biter and didn’t disappoint.
After winning the first set at 25-17 and losing the second and third sets with scores of 19-25 and 20-25, the Wildcats found themselves down with a 2-1 set deficit.
With a very close fourth set, WSU was able to come out on top and take the set at 25-22 to put a 2-2 tie on the match.
Again, a decisive fifth set was necessary, and the first team to reach 15 points would win. WSU found itself down at 13-12, but, after a solid late effort and support of the crowd that carried them through the night, the Wildcats closed out the set at 15-13 and won the match, going 3-2 in sets.
The Wildcats had a solid night statistically against the Grizzlies. Freshman Rebecca Fuchs had 15 kills and 12 digs, Cox provided a season-high 15 kills, and Wilms had 11 kills. Gee tied her career high with nine blocks, and senior Caitlin Penrod had 47 assists, 13 digs, four blocks and four kills.
“I think everybody contributed tonight,” Peterson said, “and that was the feeling. (UM) couldn’t key in on one person and we didn’t have to go to one person. We won it by committee, and that’s so nice to (win) one of those things like that . . . More than anything, it’s just the feeling that we need to take with us. Going into that fifth game . . . the feeling was just different. Instead of just being nervous going into that Game 5, we knew that we just had to do it.”
The Wildcats will play their last two home games of the season this week as they face Idaho State University on Wednesday night and California State University, Sacramento on Saturday night.