The Weber State University women’s volleyball team went into their Oct. 5 match against Montana State looking to extend their winning streak to three games.
The Wildcats held a 2–1 advantage after three sets of play at the Swenson Gym, thanks in large part to a career night from junior Andrea Hale. Despite the quick lead, the Bobcats rallied to win the last two sets and take the match, 3–2.
“I thought we did an average job defensively,” head coach Jeremiah Larsen said. “I thought we were weak with our serve, and didn’t put a lot of pressure on them to get out of system.”
The opening set was a back-and-forth battle, the Wildcats used a 12–4 run to go ahead 16–12 on the Bobcats. Montana State stormed back to take the lead at 22–21 before Weber State went in front for good on an attack error. The Wildcats emerged victorious 25–23 in the first set, with senior Amanda Varley picking up six kills.
Varley said, “When you start scoring, the rush is awesome. You just want to keep going because you’re feeling so good and it feels great to be out there.”
The second set was another even matchup, with the Bobcats prevailing 25–23 on the strength of a 4–1 run to close it out.
Weber State took an early lead in the third set off the back of Hale and never gave it up. She had four kills by the midway point and ended up with five in the set, as the Wildcats pulled out a 25–18 third-set win.
“I just stay hungry the whole time and want more and more,” Hale said.
Despite the Wildcats carrying the momentum going into the fourth set, the Bobcats took a 9–6 lead. The Wildcats rallied to tie it several times — even tying the game at 22 apiece. The Bobcats were unfazed by the pressure and used a trio of kills to take the set at 25–23.
Montana State picked up where they left off in the fifth set, grabbing an early two-kill advantage and keeping the pressure on WSU. Weber State was able to keep it close but ended up falling by a final of 15–12 to the ’Cats of Bozeman.
Weber State finished with 63 kills, 23 coming from Hale, setting a new career high for the outside hitter.
“I had no idea I was hitting (my record),” Hale said. “My teammates are amazing, and the only reason I got to do that was because of them.”
The Wildcats fell to 2–3 in the Big Sky and 4–13 overall, while Montana State improved their overall record to 6–8 for the season.
Coach Larsen saw the loss as a learning opportunity for his team.
Larsen said, “It’s all about learning for us. They are going to learn about how to play at a higher level again. We have to play as hard as we can all the time, regardless of the opponent.”