The Weber State University volleyball team looked to turn around its recent play and harness a win Tuesday night at home. In-state rival Utah Valley University came into the Swenson Gym for what seemed like a rare home game before the Wildcats hit the road for four straight matches away from WSU.
They were unable to right the ship and lost to UVU in straight sets (25-17, 25-17 and 25-19). The Wildcats dropped their fourth-straight match, their last win coming in the opening game of last weekend’s Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Tournament.
The Wildcats came out sluggish and got behind early, 6-0, in the first set. Aside from a small run mid-set, they never really were able to recover from that, and went on to drop the first set 25-17.
The Wildcats were able to keep it tight in the second set as the teams traded points until midway through the set. With WSU down two and the score 8-6, the Wolverines went on a run and opened it up to go up by six, 14-8. The lead held for the remainder of the second set. The Wolverines came out on top by eight, 25-17.
The third set looked a lot like the first, with UVU holding a lead throughout the set. The Wildcats seemed to rally a few times behind the cheers of their home crowd, but again came up short and lost the third set 25-19.
Tuesday’s loss came from a team that had a winning record at home going into the game, and which now sits at 3-3 for the season in the Swenson Gym and 4-10 overall.
A not-so-surprising bright spot for the Wildcats was again junior outside hitter Audrey Biggs, who finished the match with seven kills. After the game, Biggs emphasized the importance of learning from this loss.
“You can’t let losses like this tear your team apart,” she said. “You’ve got to come back from this even stronger.”
Sophomore outside hitter Mariah Kahawaii had seven kills of her own.
“It’s important to find something positive and use that to build some momentum,” she said.
Head coach Tom Peterson also brought up the importance of taking some positives from the match.
“It’s a mental thing for us; it’s not just a physical thing that we can’t match up with somebody with how hard we hit or the systems we use, and it’s all in the mental side. Once we do that, it’ll be fun to compete.”
Peterson said the team is gaining experience and there are young players who are finding “where they belong.” With conference play set to begin, Peterson emphasized the need for the team to continue to build.
“Good teams are good over time,” he said. “And we’re going to need to get hot right now.”
The Wildcats will take what positives they can from Tuesday night and put them to use as they take on Southern Utah University in Cedar City Thursday night, in a match that will begin conference play for the Wildcats.