The Weber State University women’s volleyball cashed in on years of hard work on the final day of the season as they clinched a postseason berth for the first time in nearly a decade.
Despite falling 3–1 in the regular season finale to Big Sky regular-season champion Sacramento State on Nov. 11, the Wildcats made it in by virtue of Idaho defeating Montana State. The loss by the Bobcats guaranteed WSU at least the seventh place spot, earning the team a berth in the conference tournament.
WSU coach Jeremiah Larsen said his team was focused on playing their match, opposed to focusing on the Big Sky results.
“We knew we had a strong chance. At the end of the day, they knew they just wanted to go out and compete well. They knew they deserved to be in,” Larsen said.
Weber State will head to Sacramento, the host city of the tournament, and take on the North Dakota Fighting Hawks in the first round on Nov. 16 at noon, MDT. WSU had last reached the playoffs in 2008.
In spite of the loss to the Hornets, Larsen expects his squad to be ready to go.
Larsen said, “We’re trying to get better and be more consistent in all aspects of the game, regardless of who is on the other side of the net.”
In addition to the in-match entertainment, it was also senior night at the Swenson Gym. Seniors Jesse Hover, Thamires Cavalcanti, and Amanda Varley were all honored before their final home games.
Varley played in all 28 matches for the ‘Cats in 2017, and she said it was bittersweet to say goodbye to the Swenson Gym.
Varley said, “This crowd is awesome. This court is awesome. I was sad but super happy to be here for my last game.”
WSU finished 7–9 in conference play, their best record since going 9–7 in the aforementioned playoff year of 2008.
Varley said, “I had never (been part of a playoff team) in my four years here, so I am very pumped.”
Junior outside hitter Andrea Hale had a standout campaign for the Wildcats and led the team with 15 kills in the finale. She is looking forward to the challenge of a single-elimination tournament.
“We just have to stay focused and play well. I can’t wait. I love California, and it’s going to be a blast,” Hale said.
Sacramento State ended up with a 15–1 Big Sky record, coasting to the top seed in the tournament.
The Big Sky tournament will conclude on Nov. 18, with the winner of the championship match advancing to the NCAA tournament.
Larsen said he is going to miss playing in front of the home crowd in Ogden.
“I hope we are giving them more and more to cheer about every single time we wander in this gym, and they will remember how hard these kids are working,” Larsen said.