After dropping a four-set match on Thursday at Portland State, the Weber State volleyball team picked up its first conference win of the year on Saturday as they defeated Sacramento State in five sets.
Thursday night the Wildcats lost their 10th consecutive conference matchup as they fell at Portland State in four sets (22-25, 26-24, 25-27, 25-23.). The Wildcats kept it a close game throughout the match as they won their first set in Portland in 10 years, their last set win also coming in a 3-1 loss on October 2, 2004.
Though the Wildcats didn’t come away with the win, they did come away with some amazing individual plays by outside hitter Samantha Staker, middle blocker Audrey Hunter and defensive specialist/libero McKay Tarbox.
Staker had a career-high night in Portland, as she pounded out 20 kills and 10 digs to accumulate her first double-double of the season. Hunter finished the night off with six blocks, moving her into 10th place in all-time total blocks, while Tarbox recorded 20 digs placing her in the top 10 of all-time career digs.
“Samantha played really well tonight,” WSU head coach Tom Peterson said. “This is the first time that we had her starting on the right side. She came in and performed well in those pressure situations. It is also nice to see Audrey Hunter and McKay Tarbox get into the top 10.”
The Wildcats played well, keeping it close and coming from behind in nearly every set. A few great rallies and great kills kept the Wildcats’ spirits up, but it wasn’t enough, as the Vikings still wrapped up their first conference victory.
Saturday afternoon the Wildcats came out strong as they pulled out a victory against Sacramento State. The victory didn’t come easily, taking all five sets to seal the win (25-17, 26-24, 8-25, 21-25, 16-14).
This was the first win for the Wildcats in Big Sky Conference play this year, as well as the team’s first victory in five-set matches this year. The win improves the Wildcats’ record to 4-12 overall, 1-3 in Big Sky play.
A true team effort helped pull off the win due to four different players getting 6 or more kills. Senior Audrey Biggs had a team-high 19 kills with outside hitters Amanda Varley and Ciera Borho recording eight and six kills respectively. Setter Taylor Christensen had a match-high 40 assists while also recording five blocks and four digs.
“I thought we came out really well in the first two sets,” Peterson said. “It feels really good to get a win, especially on the road. We showed again that we are a really good team when we are on but struggle when we don’t focus.”
The Wildcats (4-12, 1-3 conference) will return home for four of their next five games, kicking it off by hosting North Dakota (16-5, 4-0 conference) on Friday at 7 p.m. Weber State then hosts Northern Colorado (9-7, 2-2 conference) on Saturday at 7 p.m.