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Wildcats rattled Idaho Vandals in a thrilling five-set match

The Weber State women’s volleyball fought an exhilarating five-set match full of back-and-forth wins against the Idaho Vandals on Oct. 24.

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Wildcat Helena Khouri receives a serve from the vandals (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

After a series of ties breaking one way or the other, the Wildcats managed to take the match in a fifth set full of close scores. The Wildcats had a small, but energy-filled, home crowd in the arena.

Both teams started off the match strong, but neither had any early runs or score deficits, both of which came with more frequency later in the game.

“Idaho’s good, that’s why they are sitting at second for a reason, they’re young, they play loose,” Head Coach Jeremiah Larsen said. “You saw it in game four and five, where we played our style of volleyball and handled them quite well.”

The Vandals took the lead early in the first game at 15–13, but the Wildcats went on an 8–1 run to take a 21–16 lead. Outside hitters Dani Nay and Rylin Roberts set the momentum by executing the ball that gave the Wildcats a 25–20 win.

The Wildcats came out to a 9–3 lead to start the second set, but Vandals tied the game after a struggle at 11–11. It was a battle, but the ‘Cats struggled to serve well. Idaho tied the game at 22–22, but an error from a Wildcat gave them a 25–22 win to tie the game.

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Wildcats score against the Vandals (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

The third set pushed the Wildcats to their limits as the Vandals managed to control the flow of the game. After a battle, the Vandals tied the set themselves in a tie at 17–17.

The ‘Cats turned things around as middle blocker Hannah DeYoung put up a 4–0 run, but the Vandals managed to swing the set back to a tie at 22–22 and then take it by 29–27, putting them in the lead at 2–1. Down by one but not out, there was still more time for the Wildcats to play volleyball.

“They played really well and came after us, and we kind of let them dictate the game instead of us dictating it,” said outside hitter/middle blocker Megan Gneiting. “But I’m really proud how we responded in the fourth and fifth.”

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Weber State's Aubrey Adams takes on Idaho's defense (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

Nay mentioned that taking back the match was not only a physical effort but a mental commitment for everyone to come together and get their minds in execution mode.

The Wildcats did just that by starting the fourth set with a 9–3 lead, rebuilding the energy and momentum for themselves. Their lead quickly snowballed into a 25–12 victory after an 8–2 run in the middle. This ‘Cats victory tied the match at 2–2.

In the final set, to crowd cheers, the Wildcats took a 6–2 lead. However, the Vandals fought back to be down by two points at 9–7. After more play, reached 14 points, but then Idaho took a four-point run to bring the score to 14–11.

However, the Wildcats sealed the deal and made it final at 15-11. Winning the fifth set marks their fourth straight win in a row and puts them up 5-4 in the Big Sky Conference.

“We knew that Idaho was going to be tough coming to our home, and we knew that we had to bring our ‘A’ game, but we were focused on doing our jobs,” Nay said.

With a 14-6 record overall, the ‘Cats are looking to continue to keep their winning streak as they travel Oct. 26 against Eastern Washington.

The Wildcats’ next home game takes place on October 31 at the Swenson Gym against Southern Utah and Northern Arizona on November 2.

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