In the past two weekends, the Weber State University volleyball team has racked up the frequent flier miles and the wins. This past weekend, it took part in the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational, playing four games spread across two days in the city of brotherly love.
The Wildcats opened up the tournament with a three-set win over La Salle University (26-24, 25-18, 25-15) in just 80 minutes. They were able to get their offense back on track against the Explorers in a match where they hit .373 for the three sets.
Junior Audrey Biggs once again was the star of the attack, as she was able to connect on 10 kills on only 15 attempts. The youngsters went to work to support Biggs in the match as sophomore Audrey Hunter and freshman Katie Harvey had seven and six kills respectively.
After falling behind 24-22 to the Explorers in the first set, the Wildcats gathered their composure and fought back, tying the set at 24 all. Then mistakes helped lead them to the comeback win, which set the tone for the rest of the match.
The second set started just as the first had ended, the Wildcats putting the pressure on early and often. After being tied at 12-12, they went on another run as they scored 13 of the next 19 points to put the Explorers on the ropes.
The best was yet to come. The Wildcats put together one of their best sets of volleyball this year as they delivered kill after kill to hit an outstanding .593. With that great hitting percentage came 17 kills and only one error.
Head coach Tom Peterson said he was thrilled to see the team play the type of volleyball he knows it can play.
“It was our first match — I felt that we probably weren’t in a groove yet with playing at sea level, a big open gym and the travel,” Peterson said. “It took us a while, but we played well enough. It was nice to use that game and victory to figure some things out.”
Peterson constantly emphasizes the importance of ball control. He said he believes if the Wildcats can control the ball and play in their system, they will be hard to beat.
“I know that I keep saying this, but if we can have good ball control, it usually means passing,” Peterson said. “But if we can dig a ball, then set it, we are a good volleyball team, and everything else will catch up with that.”
Freshman Samantha Staker was positive that the team is moving in the right direction and that a win against the Explorers will help WSU in the long run.
“We are on the way to changing the face of Weber volleyball,” Staker said. “I know that we are on the verge of doing something great. We are a young team and we are going to develop from game to game, which I am so lucky to be a part of it.”
After WSU won its first match, the competition got the better of the Wildcats as they fell to Temple University 3-1, American University 3-0, and the University of Pennsylvania 3-2.
The Wildcats will now hit the road again as they travel down south to open Big Sky Conference play with a match Sept. 19 against Southern Utah University for the first of their four-game road trip.