PULLMAN, Wash. - The Weber State University volleyball team bounced back from a disappointing loss early Friday to earn a split during the opening day of the Cougar Challenge, hosted by Washington State University.
The Wildcats suffered a heart-breaking 3-2 defeat to Seattle University after holding a 2-1 lead in the match, but came back just 90 minutes later to sweep Alabama State 3-0, at Washington State's Bohler Gym.
Against the Redhawks in the early match, Weber State was led by a balanced effort both offensively and defensively, but couldn't overcome 19 service errors and nine receiving errors, which accounted for much of the difference in the five-set marathon.
The Wildcats finished with more kills (56-55), a better hitting percentage (.162-.131) and more blocks than the Redhawks (15-6), but fell 23-25, 31-29, 22-25, 25-20, 15-11.
Redshirt freshman Rebecca Fuchs had 15 kills and four digs, along with a pair of service aces and a pair of blocks, while sophomore Audrey Biggs had 13 kills, hit .269 and had three blocks.
Redshirt freshman Audrey Gee had a career high eight blocks against Seattle. Senior setter Caitlin Penrod had a season-high 42 assists and five blocks, while junior Briana Wilms had 10 kills and five blocks, and redshirt freshman Mariah Katoa had 10 kills and four blocks. Senior libero Laurel Bodily had 17 digs for the Wildcats.
As a team, Weber State's 15 total blocks were its highest since recording 15.5 against Northern Arizona last season.
Weber State won the first and third sets, and only narrowly missed a sweep as it fell 31-29 in the second set after committing eight service errors.
The Wildcats started strongly in the fifth set, leading 7-4, and were tied at 10-10, but the Redhawks finished by scoring five of the final six points of the match.
Against the Hornets, the Wildcats controlled the match from start to finish, trailing only one time during all three sets during a 25-15, 25-15, 25-19 win that lasted just 69 minutes.
Weber State dominated Alabama State in every facet of play, outgaining the Hornets in kills (34-18), hitting percentage (.295-(-).135), blocks (10-1) and digs (22-19).
The Wildcats' 10 blocks mark the fourth time in five matches this season that Weber State has recorded double-digit blocks, and WSU's .296 hitting percentage is its highest of the young season.
Fuchs and Biggs each had six kills to lead Weber State, and seven Wildcats recorded at least three kills. Gee had five blocks, while freshman setter Whitney Hunt had 11 assists and Penrod added 10.
Weber State (2-3) will be back in action on Saturday night at 8 p.m. in the final match of the Cougar Challenge against host Washington State (3-2).