Weber State University’s volleyball team cruised to the third round of the National Invitationals with commanding 3–1 wins over CSU Bakersfield and Portland State University on Dec. 3 and 4.
Opposite Emma Mangum came up strong early in the game against the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners, earning 8 kills and 3 blocks in the first two sets. The redshirt sophomore finished the night leading in blocks with 6.
“Emma had an awesome night, and our middles did really well in the beginning of the match, which helps even out our offense,” Rylin Adams, outside hitter, said.
Despite the hot start, the Roadrunners were able to rally back in the third set, led by middle blocker Brooke Boiseau. The Wildcats started off cold, with the score at 4–1. However, kills from Adams, middle blocker Baylee Bodily and outside hitter Dani Nay tied up the game, 7–7.
Weber State maintained the lead until CSU Bakersfield tied them again at 11–11. Boiseau’s 9 kills were too much for the Wildcats to handle, and they lost the third set 25–22.
Despite Boiseau’s dominant third set performance, Weber State was able to hold her to just two kills in the fourth.
“We come in with a certain game plan, but as you know, the game changes,” Nay said. Nay said the key to stopping Boiseau’s performance was making small adjustments and slowing the game down.
The Roadrunners fell apart in the final set, as Weber State scored six of their points off service errors. The final score was 25–21.
A victory in September and ugly loss in October put Weber State at 1–1 with the Portland State Vikings. Coming into the Dec. 4 game, Adams and Nay said the Wildcats were ready to break the tie at Swenson Gym.
“We’re going to go into Portland State giving it our all, giving everything we have, just putting our heart out on the floor,” Adams said.
The match started off rough for Weber State, as they only scored 16 points in the first set. Nay had 6 kills for the Wildcats, but her efforts were trumped by Portland State outside hitters Makayla Lewis and Gabby Hollins, who combined for 11 kills.
Weber State responded with a crushing 25–13 victory in the second set. The Wildcats were able to force 8 attack errors, largely thanks to Bodily.
Despite 5 kills from Lewis, Weber State won the third set 25–20. Nay had 5 kills, and middle blocker Sam Schiess had 3.
The fourth set was close, with Portland State doing everything they could to stay in the tournament. Lewis, middle blocker Ashleigh Barto and outside hitter Parker Webb all had 4 kills in the fourth. However, a combined 10 kills from Nay and Adams put the Wildcats on top, 25–23.
“We’re grateful that we get to keep playing,” Nay said. “There’s not a ton of teams that get to play this deep into the season, so we’re just going to go out and enjoy playing with each other and take advantage of every moment.”
Weber State will travel to Texas and face the University of Texas at El Paso on Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. A victory there will put the Wildcats in the semi-finals.