VOLLEYBALL: Wildcats Sweep EWU, Advance to Big Sky Semifinals
(Photo courtesy of Weber State Athletics)
By Colby Peterson
Although the match was at 1 PM, the stars were out for the Wildcats on Wednesday, as they swept the Eastern Washington Eagles in straight sets in a Big Sky tournament quarterfinal matchup, three sets to none. On Tuesday afternoon, the Big Sky Conference announced that senior outside hitter Rylin Adams, sophomore outside hitter Dani Nay, senior setter Ashlyn Power and senior middle blocker Sam Schiess were named to the All-Conference First Team, in addition to Coach of the Year honors for head coach Jeremiah Larsen. Big Sky Most Valuable Player honors were also announced for Adams, the first Wildcat to win the award since Kim Benesh in 1988. Adams led the way for the Wildcats with 19 kills and a .292 hitting percentage, followed by 17 kills, 16 digs and a blistering .351 hit percentage on 37 total attempts by Nay. Power led all players with 39 assists. Freshman libero Makayla Sorensen also contributed two service aces in a terrific showing. After a seesaw beginning to the first set, the Wildcats went on an 8-0 run, bolstered by the crisp service of Power and a number of dominant kills by Nay to go up 21-10. They would eventually close it out with a pair of kills from Schiess and a score of 25-15. The second set proved to be more competitive, with Eastern Washington’s sophomore middle blocker Ehu Keala logging six kills for the Eagles, but a combination of kills from Nay, Adams, and redshirt freshman Caroline Broadhead proved to be too much for the Eagles, as the Wildcats claimed a 25-21 victory. With their backs to the wall, the Eagles jumped out to a 6-4 lead in the third set, however that advantage wouldn't last. The Wildcats would go on a 5-0 run to close it out, thanks to a service ace by Sorensen and kills from Adams and Nay. At the conclusion of the match, Big Sky Conference Director of Broadcast and Digital Media Mariluz Cook asked Adams about the upcoming semifinal matchup on Thursday against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. “I think we’re going to focus on taking care of our side of the net, just being disciplined," Adams said. "When we play like we know how to play, no one can stop us. So, we really want to take care of our side of the net.” The Wildcats will face the Lumberjacks at 4 PM MDT inside of Bank of Colorado Arena on the campus of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Fans can watch the match on PlutoTV and WatchBigSky.com.