After a tough five-set loss on Wednesday night, the Weber State University volleyball team was primed and ready to put that behind it and notch its second conference win of the year. California State University, Sacramento came into the Swenson Gym riding a one-game win streak, while the Wildcats were on a four-game skid. The Hornets did just enough to win in another five-set thriller — 24-26, 25-17, 29-27, 14-25, 15-12.
In the loss, the Wildcats dominated almost every category, from team kills to service aces. They had three players with more than 10 kills. Sophomore Rebecca Fuchs led the team with 16. Junior Audrey Biggs and freshman Megan Bean contributed 13 and 11 kills respectively.
Bean also was a force at the net and had seven blocks. Sophomore Whitney Hunt dictated the WSU offense with 44 assists, 13 digs and three kills.
Once again, this match went the distance, as each team played with flair and emotion. Just when it seemed that one team was going to pull away with the match, the other team countered and gained the momentum. That was evident in the first set, as neither team could put the match away early.
Bean contributed five kills, but WSU sophomore Mariah Kahawaii went off on the Hornets just when the team needed it. Kahawaii contributed three points as the Wildcats pulled away to win the first set.
The Hornets controlled the third set. CSUS let WSU back into the games as Biggs had two kills to tie the set. The match went back and forth until CSUS was forced into a match point. The Hornets responded with three straight points to win the set.
WSU came out with energy in the fourth set and dominated CSUS in every facet of the game. The Wildcats started the match on a 7-0 run with many players contributing, but CSUS came back to tie the set at 12-12. Then the Biggs and Bean show brought the heat when they contributed nine of the next 13 points as WSU went on a 13-2 run.
WSU fell behind early in the fifth set with 6-2, but then responded with a 5-0 run to take the lead and momentum. With the set tied at 12-12, the Hornets took a timeout, and after that, they ended the set and match on a 3-0 run, handing WSU its second-straight loss in a five-set thriller.
WSU coach Tom Peterson said he was happy with the performance of his team, but knows that, for the Wildcats to win more games, they have to cut down on errors. He said the team is determining that it wants to turn the corner and win more.
“If we don’t make those errors under the pressure points in that last match, we win,” Peterson said. “Once again, I thought we were better for longer periods again tonight. Our middle hitters were playing really well, and at key points we just couldn’t get them the ball when we needed.”
Fuchs was still upbeat after two straight heartbreaking losses. She said she is confident that the team is finding that zone where it will start winning those close games. Just as Peterson had noticed, the Wildcats have played better for longer periods of time, and Fuchs said WSU is ready to break out.
“I have learned that we can make it to the top and that we can push back,” Fuchs said. “When they start to push, we have to push back a little harder. Even after bad calls or something crazy happening, we have to just move on right off the bat. We have those moments when we play that we are superior, when we get that mentality that we can win the match.”
WSU will now head on the road. The Wildcats will travel to the Northwest to take on Eastern Washington University and Portland State University on Thursday and Saturday.