Wildcat volleyball goes 1-1 in Montana

The Weber State University volleyball team won a game and lost a game in a weekend doubleheader in Montana against both the University of Montana and Montana State University.

The Wildcats won their first game in a rousing five-set battle in Missoula, Mont., against UM on Friday night.

The first set was close for WSU, but the Wildcats were unable to come out in the end. After giving up a 17-10 lead to UM, the Wildcats slowly saw the opposing lead diminish as they crept up the scoreboard. WSU tied the game at 25-25, but UM scored the final two points and took the first set from the Wildcats.

The second set was quick for the ‘Cats as they put up an early lead on the Grizzlies and never looked back. WSU took the second set with a score of 25-16.

The Wildcats put up an early lead in the third set and, although it was close, they were able to come out with the win due to their 16 kills.  With a score of 25-21, the Wildcats took the third set.

During the fourth set, WSU was never able to take the lead. Despite a close set early on, UM got away with a lead and left the Wildcats behind, sending the game into a final fifth set.

The final set was a nail-biter for both teams. The Grizzlies had a slight edge over the Wildcats during the first half of the set as the score read 9-7, but WSU landed five unanswered points to place a 12-9 lead. After a few close points, WSU held on to win the set at 15-13 and win the match with a 3-2 set victory.

“I thought we put a match together,” said Head Volleyball Coach Tom Peterson, “and we played well for longer periods of time. We matched what they were doing, and it could have gone either way because of the overtime. . . . I actually thought we could have and should have won it in three (games) . . . but we were right there for longer periods of time. We are getting better. We’re just a little better than what we were a little while ago.”

Highlights for the match included a career-high 18 kills from Piper Wahlin, 13 kills from Rebecca Fuchs, 12 kills from Audrey Biggs, 18 digs from Laurel Bodily and 65 assists from Caitlin Penrod.

On Saturday night, WSU traveled to MSU in Bozeman, Mont., to battle the Bobcats.

In the first set, the Wildcats put up a big lead early on, but then gave up eight consecutive points to allow a tie at 19-19. After points were tossed back and forth, WSU lost the close set with a score of 25-23.

The second set was quick and tough for the Wildcats as MSU took the set with a 25-11 score. The third set proved to be a better match for the ‘Cats, but they were unable to close it up and lost the set at 25-19. The Wildcats lost the match to MSU in three straight sets.

“We came out with a shot in the beginning and we were able to kind of shake up Montana State a little bit,” said junior captain and middle blocker Shanae Burgin, “and then they started pushing back on us and we didn’t change anything. We kind of just kept going the pace we already had picked . . . In the second set, they pushed back pretty hard and we didn’t react well at all; we didn’t fight back … It’s just frustrating because (MSU) is very beatable.”

WSU (7-10, 1-7) looks to continue Big Sky Conference play following its 1-1 weekend as it travels to Idaho State University on Wednesday night and Sacramento State University on Saturday night.