Wildcats volleyball went head-to-head with Eastern Washington in their return to the court on Jan. 22 and 23 after a prolonged offseason caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wildcats started off rusty in the first set of the match on Jan. 22, losing 18–25. The fact that they did not play a competitive match in 2020 could be a reason for the slow start.
“It’s been over 400 days since our last game,” said Jeremiah Larsen, the Wildcats’ head coach. “Eastern Washington came with nothing to lose, and they’re a lot better than they were last year.”
The Wildcats needed to figure out what to fix from the first set in order to win the match.
“Our serve-receive was just bad,” said Larsen. “At the end of the day, volleyball is about winning the serving battle and the receiving battle, and we lost both of those in the first set, so we couldn’t run our offense. Our offense is pretty dynamic when we can receive the serve and be able to spread the ball around.”
The Wildcats seemed to solve their problems from the first set, because they went on to win the next three sets. The Wildcats won the second set 25–15, the third set 25–21 and the fourth set 25–10.
The scores were tied in the match 16 times and there was a total of eight lead changes. The Wildcats had 44 kills against Eastern Washington’s 37 kills. The Wildcats had 41 assists, and the Eagles had 35 assists. Weber State had eight aces compared to the Eagles’ two aces. The Wildcats also earned 11 team blocks, beating EWU’s eight. WSU won the dig battle 42–41.
Rylin Adams contributed to the Weber State win. She had 15 kills, two aces and five digs.
“Ry’s got a fire in her that’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Larsen said. “Halfway through the second set I looked at Ashlyn and said, ‘You set Rylin every ball. I don’t care. Ride her all the way through these sets until we get this thing rolling.’”
Adams said that it was more amazing than usual because of the long offseason.
Ashlyn Power ended up with 36 assists during the game.
The Wildcats played Eastern Washington again on Jan. 23, where they won the match 3–1.
During the first set the Wildcats came in at 25–20, but during the second set the Eagles’ pulled ahead with 21–25, tying the match. The Wildcats’ won both the third and fourth set with scores of 25–17 and 25–22 respectively.
The Wildcats had 55 kills, nine aces, six blocks, 50 assists and 58 digs. The Eagles’, on the other hand, had 58 kills, two aces, seven blocks, 56 assists and 69 digs.
Weber State volleyball is happy to get their first wins under their belt, and they are prepared to keep competing to be the best they can be.