WSU Women's Volleyball Game 10-13-2016.  (Dalton Flandro)-0089.JPG
Weber State University's #14 Megan Thompson plays against University of Idaho on Oct. 13. Thompson posted double-digit kills against Northern Colorado and North Dakota. (Dalton Flandro/ The Signpost)

The Weber State University women’s volleyball team battled but lost two straight games on Oct. 21 and 22 to the University of Northern Colorado and the University of North Dakota, respectively.

Weber’s game against Northern Colorado went to five sets but left the win just out of WSU’s reach. In a marathon match that lasted two and a half hours, containing a total of 31 ties, head coach Jeremiah Larsen said both teams had plenty of nice plays, but, as always, consistency was key.

UNC won the first set, posting a score of 25-17.

Twenty of those points came off of UNC kills, led by sophomore Kortney Lockey with 11.

Weber responded with a tight second set. Both teams took small leads throughout. WSU led 24-18, but a 6-0 UNC run tied things up at 24 apiece. Weber sealed the set with the next two points, however, and won 26-24.

Weber fell behind early in the third set but again battled to keep things close. With only two errors, Northern Colorado won by a score of 25-20.

The teams traded places in the fourth set. Weber posted only one error and 13 kills. This, combined with the Wildcats’ six blocks and the Bears’ eight errors, led to Weber winning the fourth set 25-19, forcing a tie-breaking fifth set.

“We talk a lot about focus, playing for one ball at a time, one point at a time,” sophomore Amanda Varley said.

Varley said focus played a large role in the whole game, especially the fifth set.

The fifth set is unlike the rest in volleyball. It is a shorter set, going to 15 points instead of the regular 25. Teams switch sides halfway through the set, and the winner, as always, must win by two points.

After 12 ties and four lead changes, the Wildcats and Bears found themselves tied up 14-14. UNC won the next point, giving them the advantage and making it a possible set point. The set, and match, ended on a Weber spike that went out of bounds. The officials said the ball did not touch any of the Bears’ players, but WSU coaches and fans thought otherwise.

“We played hard for five straight sets,” Larsen said. “If we can continue with that type of effort we’ll beat teams like this.”

In the loss against North Dakota, Weber saw similar numbers from its scoring leaders. Varley, Megan Thompson and Andrea Hale each posted double-digit kills two nights in a row, but it wasn’t enough to take the win.

North Dakota won the first set 25-20.

Weber fought back in the second set, winning 25-21 off a pair of Thompson’s kills.

North Dakota couldn’t be stopped, and the Fighting Hawks won the third set 25-20.

Weber saw more of the same in the fourth set, North Dakota sealing the win with a 25-22 win in the fourth set, finishing the game 3-1.

“Despite the couple outcomes, I like the direction the team is headed,” Larsen said. “We’ve made some nice progress in areas we’ve been emphasizing. We need to improve in areas where our opponents exploited this weekend.”

The Wildcats will hit the road to take on Eastern Washington on Oct. 27 and return home to battle Idaho State on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.

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