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Volleyball to face NAU, SUU

The Weber State University volleyball team looks to win a pair of away matches this weekend as it faces Northern Arizona University on Thursday night and in-state opponent Southern Utah University on Saturday night.

The Wildcats will return to action on Thursday after winning a game and losing a game last weekend. Last Thursday night, WSU put down a solid effort against Eastern Washington University and defeated the Eagles in three straight sets with scores of 25-14, 25-22 and 25-18.

“It just felt good on the court,” said WSU junior Shanae Burgin, who hit .769 percent with 10 kills on 13 attempts for the night on Thursday, regarding the win. “We just kept going instead of seeing the roller-coasters we sometimes do, so that was really neat. Sometimes when we are playing, we will have a run and then we’ll go down. A lot of it is just momentum and emotion . . . we’re really high, and then we are really low — maybe because we get blocked or something. We can’t let that affect us. Sometimes, the other team goes on a run of three or four points, and that’s what kills us. We need to learn to cut those off quick, and that’s what we did. We were able to stop their runs and it let us go on runs. When that happens, that’s so much better than seeing their runs.”

The Wildcats came back to battle Portland State University on Saturday night after their win, but were unable to hold PSU down. The team lost the match as it was swept in three straight sets to the Vikings, who currently sit tied for first place atop the Big Sky standings (9-1).

The Wildcats, now holding a 2-8 record, will look for two away-game wins against NAU and SUU — two teams which have already defeated WSU earlier this season. NAU, which sits in second place in the Big Sky Conference, holds an 8-2 record in conference play, and SUU has a current record of 4-6.

The WSU volleyball team currently finds itself at the midway point of Big Sky Conference season play. It is halfway through the season, and the Wildcats understand their need to win.

“Obviously it’s great to win — we haven’t done enough of it,” said WSU Head Coach Tom Peterson with a laugh. “We need to do more . . . At the end of the game, we can’t give up; we have to keep working.”

Burgin said the team has been working on new strategies and looking for more opportunities to put itself in a winning position.

“We’ve been practicing a new rotation,” she said, “and we’ve been switching people out here and there. We’re so close at every position that anyone could go in at any time and do great, great things. So it’s really neat to see it actually work.”

The Wildcats look to keep their season hopes alive as they look for a third and fourth win this weekend. Hope is an important factor for the team, which has battled back a few times this season after being down in points and in sets.

“There have been quite a few games that we’ve been down,” said WSU senior Laurel Bodily. “We’ve battled back, and so, for us, I think that it shows real character for us and that we’re able to come back after being down a few points. “

The games will take place in Flagstaff, Ariz., at 7 p.m. on Thursday night and in Cedar City, Utah, at 7 p.m. on Saturday night.

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