Wildcats Roll Over Roadrunners in First Round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship
There was no shortage of drama in Ogden on Friday night, in spite of the shortage of fans in the building as the Weber State volleyball team rolled over Cal State Bakersfield in the first round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship, winning three sets to one.
2021 Big Sky Conference Player of the Year, Sophomore Outside Hitter Dani Nay, led the way for the Wildcats, logging 12 kills, 1 service ace, and a .310 hitting percentage. Nay struggled in the Big Sky Tournament two weeks ago, but came out in convincing fashion to open the tournament, hosted at Swenson Gym in Ogden.
2020 Big Sky Conference Player of the Year, Senior Outside Hitter Rylin Adams, also turned in a stellar performance, contributing 11 kills of her own, a service ace, and 12 defensive digs.
The Wildcats started out hot, winning the first set over the Roadrunners in convincing fashion 25 to 18 thanks to 12 assists from Senior Setter Ashlyn Power and 6 kills from Redshirt Sophomore Opposite Emma Mangum.
Set Number 2 saw Adams and Nay come alive, scoring 8 of the 10 kills in the set. Senior Middle Blocker Sam Schiess also got involved, scoring 3 or her 5 blocks on the night in the frame. Mangum contributed 2 of her own and the Wildcats sealed the victory, 25 to 22.
But, the Roadrunners would answer back in Set number 3, led by Redshirt Junior Middle Blocker Brooke Boiseau and her 9 kills in the set. She would end the match leading all scorers with 20 kills on the night. Miscommunications and passing dogged the Wildcats, as they played from behind for most of the set, grabbing their first lead at the 9 to 8 mark. The Runners would go on to win the set, 25 to 22.
Then, in a gritty Set number 4 performance, the Wildcats found themselves down big early, calling time trailing 13 to 7. They answered with a 5-0 run to get back in the match, forcing a Roadrunner timeout. Down 18 to 16, the Wildcats made another critical run, rattling off six straight points to make it 22-18. The match would fittingly end on a service ace from Power to end the night and give the Wildcats a 3 sets to 1 victory. Their third straight year winning a postseason match.
After the match, Weber State Head Coach Jeremiah Larsen told media, "Bakersfield had played a wonderful game, had a good game plan and executed it very well. They played with a lot of energy and should be proud. We're fortunate to beat them.”
The Wildcats move on to the second round of the NIVC, facing conference rival Portland State at 2 PM on Saturday at Club Swenson in a rubber match after the teams split the season series at one match a piece. You can catch the match on ESPN+ or just pull up to the Club.
For Weber State Weekly, I’m Colby Peterson