After a road trip that took them to Reno, Nev., the Weber State University volleyball team took to the court against in-state rival Utah State University. The Wildcats fell in straight sets to the Aggies, 25-19, 25-12, 25-18.
The Wildcats returned to the court where they started the season 3-1 in the first weekend of the season. They came out with energy and an aggression to attack the net.
Sophomore Rebecca Fuchs opened the set up with two spikes that the Aggie frontline was unable to slow down. Then the Aggies were able to find a rhythm in which they rolled off six straight points to give them the lead. They never looked back as they held off a late charge by the Wildcats and won the set 25-19 behind the defense of Aggie Elle Brainard.
The second set started just as the first as both teams got going back and forth, switching blows from the net. Brainard was once again a big obstacle for the Wildcats, as they had a hard time finding their rhythm. Just as they gained some momentum, the Aggies were able to respond with a spike between outstretched arms of the defenders, or a technique that would fall to the ground. The Aggies went on to win that set 25-12.
A different Wildcat team came out of the locker room, wanting to push the match to four sets. Sophomore Samantha Staker said the players were motivated to go out and give it everything they had and play the type of volleyball they knew they could play.
“In the third set, we were determined to extend the match,” Staker said. “We decided as a team to put everything we had on the court and leave it all out there. We mustered up the effort.”
Sophomore Audrey Hunter started the set with her second kill of the contest. The Wildcats were able to find their groove earlier on. After a dig by junior McKay Tarbox, Fuchs was able to deliver another crushing spike. The Aggies grabbed the early lead, but great placement from freshman Ciera Borho and Hunter brought the Wildcats back into the game.
Once again, Fuchs rallied the troops and gave them their first lead of the set as she lit up the Aggies’ defense, which brought the crowd to its feet. With the crowd behind them, it seemed as if the Wildcats were going to make a run. But after the set was tied at 16-16, the Aggies were able to score six of the next seven points that put the set and match out of reach as they won 25-18.
“I thought when we got them out of system, we were able to get with them until the last of the game,” said WSU head coach Tom Peterson. “If we can just ball-control, there is a magic number for me. If we pass a 2.2, we can beat and stay with anybody. Ball control — we can’t be that much out of system than the other team.”
Fuchs and Staker led the team offensively with seven and eight kills respectively. Sophomore Whitney Hunt led the team with 20 assists, while Staker added seven of her own.
“We had a lot of support from Weber State and the community, which gave us a lot of energy,” Staker said. “Although we didn’t win tonight, we are still on the way to changing the face of Weber volleyball. I know that we are on the verge of doing something great; I am so lucky to be a part of it.”
The Wildcats will now travel to Philadelphia, Penn., to take part in the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Tournament Sept. 14-15.