The Weber State volleyball team closed out their in-state schedule after facing the Utah Valley Wolverines and the University of Utah Utes on Sept. 8 and 9.

Weber State huddle in celebration following a score against Utah Valley. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)
Wildcats huddle in celebration following a score against Utah Valley. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)

The Wildcats kicked the night off in Ogden with a ring ceremony and banner in recognition of their 2020-21 Big Sky Conference Championship win.

Weber State started their first set of the night by establishing an early 4-point lead until UVU answered with 3 points.

The squads went back and forth for the next 18 points before the Wildcats were able to establish a 14–9 lead. Efforts from the Wolverines weren’t enough to make a comeback before the Wildcats took home a win with 26–24.

Wildcats, number 19 and 12, join together in praise following a play against the Wolverines. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)
Wildcats join together in praise following a play against the Wolverines. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)

Utah Valley opened the second set of the night with a quick 3–2 lead, and despite efforts from the Wildcats, the Wolverines finished 25–16.

Weber State hoped for a third-set comeback and took a 3–1 lead before UVU took the lead 6–5. The third set was a fierce battle, with 13 ties and 10 lead changes until the Wolverines finished with a win, bringing the final score to 25–22.

Wildcats prepare defensive plays against the Wolverines. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)
The Wildcats wait to defend against the Wolverines. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)

The fourth set turned into a win for the Wildcats after another tight game before the Wildcats took a quick 6-point lead for the win.

With the match tied at 2–2, the Wildcats had little room for error and established a quick 11–4 lead. UVU tried to make a comeback, but weren’t able to catch up to the Wildcats.

The fifth set went to Wildcats 15–11, and they took home another win for their now 19-game at-home streak.

Wildcat volleyball player prepares for the game against UVU. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)
Wildcat volleyball player prepares for the game against UVU. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)

Several key players sealed the deal: Rylin Adams finished with 17 kills, one ace and one block, Dani Nay followed with 15 kills, four aces and one block, Sam Schiess had 12 kills and one block and Emma Mangum had 5 kills and one block.

The following night, the Wildcats traveled down to Salt Lake City to take on the No. 20 Utes, but Weber State couldn’t find their footing and fell to the Utes in three consecutive sets.

The first set of the night consisted of back-and-forth lead changes between the two squads until the Utes built on their score and ended the set 25–19.

Two Wildcats deflect the ball as the Wolverines attempt to score. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)
Two Wildcats deflect the ball as the Wolverines attempt to score. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)

The ‘Cats tried to bring home their first win, but they were quickly left in the dust by the Utes after they went on an explosive 9–2 point run. The second set ended with Utah scoring 25–20.

Utah headed into the third set ready to close out the night. The Utes iced out the Wildcats at the beginning, and they ended the set 25–13.

The dance team performs a halftime show at the volleyball game on Wildcat turf. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)
The dance team performs a halftime show at the volleyball game on Wildcat turf. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)

“This preseason has been the most difficult preseason we have ever had,” Adams said. “It’s good that we’re going through the hard times and the growing pains; it’ll make us better for our conference.”

Game leaders included Adams with 10 kills and one block, Nay with eight kills, one ace and one block and Mangum with six kills.

The Wildcats will hit the road Sept. 16 for the Omaha Challenge and take on the University of Nebraska Omaha and Kansas State before kicking off Big Sky play, hosting Portland State on Sept. 23.

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