Wildcats claw past Bobcats, finish second

Kainoa Nunez

The Swenson Gym was packed the night of Nov. 23 as the Weber State University volleyball team took the court for the final time at home against the Montana State Bobcats in a 3–0 set sweep.

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Hannah DeYoung leaps to spike the ball for the Wildcats vs. Grizzlies volleyball game Thursday. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

The matchup on Nov. 23 was also the last time seniors Katelyn Erwin, Helena Khouri, Megan Gneiting, Hannah DeYoung and Aubrey Saunders-Adams took the court at the Swenson Gym.

“It’s always nice to win for your seniors,” head coach Jeremiah Larsen said. “I thought we played really well for three straight sets and beat a really nice Montana State team.”

After the pregame honors, the Wildcats and Bobcats took the court for the first set, trading points throughout. The gym was loud with chants and erupted every time WSU scored. The evenly matched set needed extra scoring as the Wildcats squeezed by with a 26–24 set win.

WSU kept the momentum going into the second set with a 25–18 set win, and took a 2–0 lead into the five minute break.

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Weber State’s Kateyn Erwin ups Ashlyn Power’s save during Thursday night’s volleyball game against the Grizzlies. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

Montana State jumped out early in the third set with a 10–4 run, but the Wildcats retaliated with a 7–1 run and tied the set at 11–11. The Bobcats again found themselves with another lead that quickly vanished with a 7–2 run for the Wildcats. Both teams were tied again, this time at 20–20.

The packed house was on their feet as the Wildcats finished the match with a 5–2 run and a 25–22 set victory. Weber State finished the season with a 22-7 overall record and 13-5 in conference.

“Every home game, I love to see how my teammates come in everyday to work hard, and they drive and push me to be the athlete that I am,” DeYoung said.

DeYoung is studying exercise and sport science and hopes to become a physical therapist to help rehabilitate those who sustain injuries. She has played over 320 sets and 95 matches and is one of the best blockers on the team. She also has the best hitting percentage in WSU volleyball history at .322 and 354 blocks.

Erwin is studying elementary education and wants to be a teacher. She finished her career with 310 sets and 95 matches, recording 600 digs.

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Sarina Moreno sets up a Wildcat serve for the opposing Grizzlies. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

“I love children, and I believe that with this field, I can learn how to affect their lives growing up in the education aspect,” Erwin said.

Gneiting is studying nutrition education and hopes to one day be a volleyball coach.

“I love food and I got to be careful with what I eat if I want to be healthy for the rest of my life,” Gneiting said.

Gneiting has played 400 sets in 110 matches, recorded 960 kills from 2,760 attacks and averaged 2.39 kills per set. She added 100 Service Aces and 650 digs and was selected in 2018 and 2019 for First Team All-Conference.

Saunders-Adams is majoring in physical education and health and also hopes to become a volleyball coach. She played in 350 sets in 101 matches and recorded 320 blocks.

“I can’t step away from the sport that I love,” Saunders-Adams said. “So I want to keep playing and coach it to my kids and to other kids in the future.”

Khouri has a history of playing volleyball in her family, who are from Rio de Janiero, Brazil and continuing her passion for volleyball has come a long way for her.

“I started playing because of my older sister and my mom, who has been a huge inspiration for me,” Khouri said. “Both have been my role models, and once I started playing, my family has supported me all the way to today.”

She is studying communication in public relations and advertising, and because the field provides different options and choices, she hopes to pursue a career in advertising.

Khouri played in 200 sets in 55 matches and recorded 720 digs as a Wildcat.

Weber State enters the Big Sky Tournament as the second seed and will take on the Southern Utah Thunderbirds on Thanksgiving Day. The ’Cats are looking to the tournament for the first time since 1988.