Wildcat volleyball participated in the NCAA Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, on April 14 and 15.
Their first match on April 14 was against Bowling Green. Weber State won that set 3–1.
This is the first NCAA Tournament win for Weber State’s volleyball team in their history.
The Wildcats won the first set 25–18. Then Bowling Green tied it up after winning the second set 25–22. Weber State won the third and fourth sets 25–22 and 25–21 to win the match.
The Wildcats were able to get 54 kills, while Bowling Green earned 53 kills. Weber State achieved nine aces, and Bowling Green got six aces. The Wildcats earned 16 blocks. Bowling Green got seven blocks.
Bowling Green were also able to get 47 assists, while Weber State were able to earn 52 assists. The Wildcats got 74 digs just under Bowling Green’s 77 digs.
Wildcat Dani Nay was the match’s kill leader with 18 kills. Bowling Green’s Jacqueline Askin had 16 kills. Wildcat Ashlyn Power led the match with four aces. Bowling Green’s leader in aces was Yelianiz Torres with two.
Weber State’s Caroline Broadhead earned eight blocks. Bowling Green’s Katie Kidwell had five blocks. Power also led the match in assists with 49. Bowling Green’s Hanna Laube led her team with 40 assists.
The leader in digs was Bowling Green’s Julia Walz with 39 digs. Weber State’s leader in digs was Makayla Sorensen with 22 digs.
The Wildcats’ head coach, Jeremiah Larsen, gave his thoughts after the match.
“This is a huge day for Weber State volleyball,” Larsen said. “Six years ago, we were barely getting by.”
The Wildcats are now making history with their first win in the NCAA Tournament.
“It was just a really good team win,” Larsen said.
Larsen liked how his team kept fighting throughout the game to get the win.
Sam Schiess also spoke her thoughts after the match.
“All year we’ve been a team that we haven’t ran from a fight or ran from adversity,” Schiess said. “I think it showed in those last few points especially.”
Schiess, like her coach, also enjoyed that the team kept fighting and being resilient.
The Wildcats had another challenge on April 15 when they played the number one ranked team from the University of Wisconsin.
Weber State ended up losing the match 3–0. Wisconsin won the first set 25–17, the second set 25–19 and the third set 25–15.
Weber State earned 36 kills in the match compared to Wisconsin’s 45 kills. Wisconsin was able to get seven aces, while the Wildcats earned two aces.
Wisconsin achieved 11 blocks. Weber State had four blocks. The Wildcats earned 35 assists, and Wisconsin earned 45 assists. Weber State tallied 40 digs, while Wisconsin got 48 digs.
Weber State’s Rylin Adams led the match with 13 kills. Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke, Danielle Hart and Grace Loberg all earned nine kills each. The match’s block leader was Hart with nine blocks.
The Wildcats’ block leader was Schiess with three blocks. Wisconsin’s Sydney Hilley was the assist leader with 37 assists. Power led Weber State in assists with 33 and in digs with 10. The match’s leader in digs was Wisconsin’s Lauren Barnes with 19 digs.
Larsen expressed his thoughts after the match.
“Wisconsin’s pretty good,” Larsen said. “It was a really good opportunity for our team to compete.”
It is not often Weber State gets to compete against a team as high ranked as Wisconsin in a big tournament like this.
“Overall, I’m really happy for our players,” Larsen said. “I think we’re pretty happy with the way the season went about.”
The Wildcats ended the season with 19 wins and two losses. They won the Big Sky Regular Season and the Big Sky Conference Championship Tournament.
“I’m pretty proud of them being able to handle the adversity that was kind of thrown at them through this COVID year,” Larsen said.
This has been an unusual season due to playing in the spring instead of the fall, when the normal volleyball season is. It has also been different with the COVID guidelines and having masks on while playing.
Power, along with the other seniors, plans to return in the fall, and she wants to improve from this year.
“Super proud of what we’ve done this season,” Power said. “But also ready to go get better and be back here again next year.”