Wildcats cruise past SUU in three sets

Japheth Pleasant

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#19 Ashlyn Power sets up the ball for her teammates. (Sara Parker / The Signpost)

The Weber State University volleyball team rebounded from a loss two days earlier as they swept Southern Utah University in three sets at home on Oct. 20. The victory moved the Wildcats record to 7–3, which is good for a second-place tie in the Big Sky Conference standings.

The ‘Cats were on fire to start the first set and jumped out to a nine kill lead. Despite the early momentum, the Thunderbirds showed their resilience after a slow start. SUU scored six unanswered points late in the set, forcing WSU head coach Jeremiah Larsen to call a timeout.

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Wildcats cheeing after winning a point against opponents SUU. (Sara Parker / The Signpost)

“A key for us was being able to pass the ball. They went on a nice run of serving tough, and it kept us out of our system,” assistant coach David Gannon said.

Four kills by junior outside hitter Megan Gneiting and five digs by sophomore outside hitter Rylin Roberts led Weber State to a 25-19 win in the first set.

“We just had to focus on getting a good pass to the net and the hitters took care of the rest,” Gannon said.

With the Wildcats scarcely holding on to a 24-23 lead in the second set, it appeared as if the awakened Thunderbirds had all the momentum to tie the match. Weber State put an end to the Southern Utah run after a kill by junior middle blocker Hannah Hill-DeYoung.

Sophomore setter Ashlyn Power picked up 17 of her game-leading 37 assists in the third set to help the Wildcats get the victory and improve their overall record to 12–7.

“I think that SUU is a very good team,” Power said. “They serve tough, and that’s what got us out of rhythm with our passing, so that’s how they were able to stay a little closer.”

Power credited her teammates for her performance.

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#1 Rylin Roberts shaking hands with teammate #5 Andrea Hale before they play their match against SUU. (Sara Parker / The Signpost)

“Assists really don’t say anything about the setter they say a lot about my hitters and my passers. I give all the credit to them,” Power said. “My passers do a great job of putting me in good situations, and it’s really easy to run the offense when you have hitters in every direction who I know can put the ball away.”

Senior outside hitter Andrea Hale, along with Gneiting, combined to put away a total of 26 kills to lead the Wildcats. Gneiting also led all players with four blocks.

“Andrea is one of our captains,” Gannon said. “She’s more than just a good volleyball player; she’s a leader and the inspiration on the court, and we rely heavily on her arm.”

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#1 Rylin Roberts lightly taps the ball over the net towards opponents SUU. (Sara Parker / The Signpost)

Gannon also had words of praise for Gneiting.

“Nobody works harder than Megan, and it really shows when she’s on the court, and without those two, we’d have a really hard time,” Gannon said.

Roberts also played an crucial role in the victory, adding seven kills of her own and leading the game with 13 digs.

“We struggled receiving serves and passing, so that’s what we’ve got to work on this week before we head to Eastern Washington and Idaho,” Gannon said.

The Wildcats will hit the road for the contests against the Eagles and Vandals before they return home on Oct. 30 against Idaho State.