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The Weber State University volleyball team came out to battle the Idaho State University Bengals on Wednesday night, but the team was unable to come out with a victory. The Wildcats came into the match with momentum from a tight 3-2 set victory over the University of Montana last Saturday night.
The first set for the Wildcats started off strong against ISU as both teams played neck-and-neck volleyball. The Wildcats were able to stay within one point of the Bengals’ lead up to a score of 10-9, but ISU went on a six-point unanswered burst to put a 16-9 lead over the Wildcats. WSU was unable to gain momentum and lost the first set with a score of 25-17.
The second set started in a similar way to the first,as both teams stayed very even with the other. As the set carried on, however, the Wildcats were unable to match the scoring streaks being played by the Bengals. After a 6-6 tie, the Wildcats gave up four unanswered points to see the score reach 10-6. The deficit widened to 19-12, and WSU was never able to catch up. The Bengals won the second set with a score of 25-17 – the same score as the first set.
The Wildcats got on the board first in the third set, and, as with the previous two sets, the score was very tight. The team, however, was able to keep a step up on the Bengals throughout the set. The third set proved to be a challenge for WSU, but the Wildcats were able to maintain momentum through to the end. With a tied score of 15-15, WSU landed three unanswered points and raised the crowd to high energy after a powerful kill by WSU sophomore Audrey Biggs to put the score at 18-15. The points were tight, but WSU was able to come out with a third-set victory and a close score of 26-24.
WSU had the momentum going into the fourth set, but it wasn’t enough to defeat a powerful Bengal team. ISU carried most of the force thought the set despite a tough fight from the Wildcats. WSU was unable to acquire a lead, and the Wildcats lost the fourth and final set to the Bengals with a 25-13 finish.
Despite the loss, Biggs had a career-high 16 kills and a hitting percentage of .323. Freshman Mariah Katoa added eight kills and had two blocks as well. Senior Caitlin Penrod had a total of 40 assists and 13 digs on the night.
Audrey Gee, a WSU freshman, said the Wildcats still have a way to go to gain the strength of play the Bengals have.
“Idaho State is a really level-headed team,” she said. “Volleyball is a huge game of momentum, and no matter what the momentum is, Idaho State always plays at the same level, and we’re not quite at that point.”
WSU Head Coach Tom Peterson had similar remarks as Gee concerning the momentum of the game and ISU’s control.
“We just didn’t gut it out enough to try to come back earlier,” he said. “It’s not just the fighting part, I know the girls did that, but it’s allowing yourself to fight harder. We just didn’t fight at the right times. Our ball control didn’t match theirs. Idaho State is a very, very experienced veteran team and they just don’t make a lot of mistakes. It was their play that set the tone and we had to match theirs throughout the game, and that’s what we did in Set 3. We are getting better and better for longer periods of time, but we just have to do it more.”
The Wildcats will play their final home game of the season at 7 p.m. on Saturday against California State University, Sacramento. As the final game at home, it will be the team’s annual Senior Night. Three WSU seniors will be recognized at the match.