Volleyball suffers two home losses vs. SUU, NAU

Photo By: Tyler Brown
Weber State University volleyball players Laurel Bodily (14, center right) and Audrey Gee (8, right) block a spike against Northern Arizona University.

The Weber State University volleyball team suffered a pair of losses over the weekend as it hosted a pair of home games to begin its Big Sky Conference play.

The Wildcats faced Southern Utah University on Friday night for their home opening match and Northern Arizona University on Saturday afternoon as part of their weekend doubleheader.

On Friday night, WSU got off to the early lead in the first set, posting a score of 10-2 over SUU. The Thunderbirds slowly made their way up the scoreboard as the set continued and eventually came up to tie the Wildcats at a score of 19-19. Then, with another tied score of 22-22, the Wildcats gave up four unanswered points, allowing SUU to take the first set, 25-22.

The second set began with a 5-0 point deficit for the Wildcats, but the team came back to tie up the score 7-7. The Wildcats fought SUU up the scoreboard to manage a one-point lead at 14-13, and from there, they never looked back as they maintained the lead and beat SUU for the second set with a score of 25-21.

WSU stayed up with the Thunderbirds in the third set, but was unable to get hold of the lead. SUU got on top early in the set and maintained the lead throughout — the Wildcats never able to catch up.  SUU won the set with a score of 25-21.

Similarly to the third set, the fourth and final set was taken by the Thunderbirds as WSU trailed through the set. SUU won the set with a score of 25-16. The Wildcats lost the match to SUU, going 1-3 in four sets, giving them a 0-1 record to start Big Sky Conference play.

Highlights from the match for WSU included 18 kills from Rebecca Fuchs, 14 kills from Mariah Katoa, 38 assists given by Caitlin Penrod, 20 digs from Laurel Bodily and nine total team blocks.

The second match for WSU took place on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats fought a hard battle against the NAU Lumberjacks.

NAU got off to a hot start and put up an early lead on the Wildcats in both the first and second sets, and the Wildcats were unable to keep up, losing both sets with scores of 25-18 and 25-10.

As the third set opened, the Wildcats found themselves in a close game early on, with only a one-point deficit to the Lumberjacks at 6-5. From there, however, WSU was unable to catch up with NAU, and the Lumberjacks took the third and final set with a score of 25-12. The Wildcats lost the match to NAU in three straight sets.

Despite the loss, a few highlights during the game for WSU included nine kills from Fuchs and 26 assists from Penrod.

“It’s disappointing to begin with . . . I thought we gave up,” said Tom Peterson, head volleyball coach, about the game against NAU. “It’s not that you just give up, but you let yourself play worse and you let the other team play better, so it feels like you’re just giving up.  You lose focus because you’re so into everything going wrong that nothing goes right . . .”

WSU freshman Fuchs said the WSU fans are a big motivation for the team.

“I think during the SUU game, we came out with fire and we really wanted to take that game,” she said. “I thought we had moments of greatness in this game here (versus NAU), but we didn’t keep going with it, so that’s something we can work on. We’re just sad that we couldn’t perform for our fans like we should at all times, and it just gives us more motivation to go harder and faster and do whatever it takes to just win.”

The Wildcats (6-7, 0-2) will continue their conference play with both their next matches at home in Ogden. The games will be held on Thursday night at 7 p.m. against the University of North Dakota and on Saturday afternoon against the University of Northern Colorado at 4 p.m.