For the third time in two weeks, the Weber State University Volleyball Team lost a match in the fifth set, falling to the Utah State University Aggies 3-2 on Tuesday night in the Swenson Gym.
The match was close, with the two teams pushing each other in every set. The Aggies started out hot, controlling the tempo of the match and jumped to an early 7-3 lead in the first set. During the first set, WSU suffered and committed some errors, which helped the Aggies maintain their lead. Head Coach Tom Peterson said that the team needs to try and play clean, mistake-free volleyball.
“The key is to balance the kind of effort we had tonight with better execution,” Peterson said. “I thought we struggled a little bit with our execution at key times.”
For much of the first set, the score was tight, and emotions ran high for USU Head Coach Grayson DuBose, who was shown a yellow card by the official, following two outbursts directed at the referee.
Following the yellow card, USU went on to win the first set 25-18.
Once again in the second state, the Aggies took the early lead, but the Wildcats responded well and kept the score close. WSU’s Dama Cox came up big in the second set. Cox blocked two USU shots in a row, which sparked a 5-0 run by the Wildcats.
WSU’s Shanae Langston said that the team needs to work on starting better in each set. She said that USU’s early leads hurt the team.
“We have to practice being the first ones out of the shoot,” Langston said. “Every match we started down a couple of points. We want to play with the lead, instead of playing catch-up. I think if we can do that, it will make the difference.”
Bethany Wray scored the winning point for WSU in the second set with a hard spike to the opposite side of the court, which received a standing ovation from the WSU fans.
The Aggies continued their quick starts in the third set, scoring the first five points. While USU held the lead for much of the third set, the Wildcats managed to keep it close for much of the set, but were unable to take the lead, and USU went on to win the set and take a 2-1 advantage in the match.
For the fourth consecutive time, USU scored the first points of the fourth set, but WSU responded well, and took control of the set with a 9-5 lead. The Aggies kept the score close, and tied the set multiple times before the Wildcats were able to close it out and push the match to a tie-breaking fifth set.
USU struck first in the tiebreaker, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, before Cox got WSU on the board with one of her career-high 13 kills of the match. Cox also tied her career high with three service aces. But it was not enough for the Wildcats, who couldn’t overcome the Aggies in the final set.
Langston said that the team can take a lot from a tough loss, and that she expects the team to grow from this experience.
“It was a hard loss, and a heartbreaker,” Langston said. “But for us it was a huge breaking point as well . . . We played one of our best matches, and it goes to show that we can do hard things, and we can come back from hard things. When we play Nebraska, it will be easier after playing a tough game like that.”
The Wildcats are currently on a road trip in Nebraska, and will return for their next home game on Sept. 13, when they will take on Boise State University.