Volleyball to close season on the road

The Weber State University volleyball team will play its final games of the season this weekend.

The Wildcats will first head to the Northwest Coast to face Portland State University on Thursday night, followed by a season-closing game against Eastern Washington University on Saturday night.

“We’re going to try to go hard and give them our all,” said WSU senior Dama Cox. “We will try to give back to Weber State what it’s given to us. (The fans have) given us so much support, and so this is our time to give it back to them and get two wins.”

WSU lost to PSU earlier in the season, but was able to defeat EWU in three sets on Oct. 11.

The games have a special significance for Caitlin Penrod, Laurel Bodily and Cox — the team’s seniors. The weekend’s matches mark the last of the Big Sky careers for each of these players.

“We’re excited for the weekend,” Penrod said. “I don’t think anyone is really thinking about how it’s our last two games. Rather, we’re heading for what’s to come in our next chapter. So it’s bittersweet if we really think about it, but no one is saying, ‘Oh my gosh, this is our last game . . .’ It hasn’t hit us yet.”

As of Wednesday, Nov. 14, the Wildcats have an overall record of 10-20 — the highest for WSU since 2008. The team also holds a Big Sky Conference record of 3-15.

Although the Wildcats will be facing their final games, they said they are still working hard to improve and play the best they can all the way to the finish.

“We are working a lot on serving and service-receiving and controlling that part of the game so that we can make the most of these two most important aspects of it all in our control,” Penrod said. “After that, everything else will be a lot easier for us. We’re also preparing to receive a lot of spikes.”

The three departing seniors have solid statistics going toward the end of the season. Prior to this weekend’s games, senior right-side hitter Cox is averaging 1.66 kills and .69 blocks per set with 23 service aces recorded. Senior setter Penrod is averaging 861 assists, 23 service aces and 56 blocks. Senior libero Bodily is averaging 362 digs — the most of any Wildcat.

After the season ends, the WSU players will have a break until school starts up again in January. At that time, a new program of competition will begin.

“This will be the end of the competitive season until spring season heats up,” Penrod said. “So everyone will have the rest of the semester off, and then they’ll all get workouts that they can do at home over the break. In January, we start up again with an eight-hour week with practice every day. Then the spring competitive season will begin in February . . . Those games would be the same level as preseason conference play.”

Although many changes are about to pass for the Wildcat team, its focus is on this weekend’s games and what it has to do to bring home two final wins from the road.

“We’re just going to play hard,” Cox said. “The team that plays hardest always comes out with a win. My goal is to go as hard as I can and work for my team. That’s all I want to prove.”

The games will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday in Portland, Ore., and at 8 p.m. on Saturday in Cheney, Wash.