’Cats beat down contenders, stay on top

Brandon May

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Ashlyn Power sets for a spike. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

The Weber State University volleyball team continued to dominate in conference play, climbing to 5–1, beating the Northern Colorado Bears three sets to two Saturday night at the Swenson Gym.

The Wildcats entered the night riding a three-match winning streak tied for first place with the Idaho State Bengals.

Northern Colorado took the first set from the Wildcats 25–21, and the ’Cats were braced for a fight.

Weber State came out firing in the second set, taking off to a 11–3 lead and continued to build on 20–8 run. The Bears eventually stifled the Wildcats’ momentum, but the ’Cats proved too strong, taking set two 25–18, tying the match at one set a piece.

The Bears built on the momentum they gained late in the second set, taking set three 25—17, forcing the ’Cats to win the next two sets if they were going to come out victorious and keep the winning streak alive.

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'Cats jump to block the Bears. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

Weber State did just that in the forth set.

Tied at eight a piece early on, the Wildcats went on a 9—3 run led by senior Andrea Hale with a forceful kill, sophomore Ashlyn Power followed that with an ace, sophomore Sam Schiess added a solo block and Hale finished set four off with another kill.

WSU stayed alive in the fourth set, winning 25–14 and forcing a winner-takes-all set five.

Tension hung in the air as set five began, tightening as the Bears took a 10–9 lead after a long rally.

Hale was the only one who didn’t feel the nerves, firing a ball to the Bears’ right side of the court tying set five at 10 a piece, changing the entire atmosphere of the gym and giving the Wildcats momentum.

After impressive digs by the Weber State defense to keep the rally going the ’Cats took their first lead of the forth set on a attack error by the Bears.

Despite an energetic crowd and all Weber’s momentum, Northern Colorado wasn’t giving up without a fight, knotting the game at 15.

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Outside hitter Andrea Hale drops down for a save. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

Sophomore Kennedy Redd slammed down the ball to give Weber State the edge 16–15 and forcing a match point. After a Wildcat serve, the Bears set up an attack in hopes to tie it up, but their dreams were shot down when junior Megan Gneiting made the solo block giving the Wildcats there forth match win in a row.

“What an incredible game,” head coach Jeremiah Larsen said. “Hats off to Northern Colorado. They are easily one of the best digging teams in the country and incredibly well coached. To come away with a win was a special moment for our women.”

Hale, Gneiting and Power finished the night with one double-double each. Power finished with an astonishing 48 assists and 16 digs.

Weber State improved to 10–5 on the season and 5–1 in the Big Sky Conference. They hit the road to Portland State and Sacramento State before returning home to host Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, who is their one loss in conference play.