CEDAR CITY -- Taking on in-state rival Southern Utah to open up Big Sky Conference action, the Weber State volleyball team fell 25-20, 22-25, 25-16, 26-24 to the Thunderbirds on Thursday night at Centrum Arena.
The Wildcats fall to 0-1 in Big Sky play, 4-11 overall, despite a balanced offensive effort that saw three players reach double-figures kills.
Freshman middle blocker Katie Harvey had 10 kills and hit .421, with five blocks and two service aces to lead the Wildcats, while sophomore outside hitter Rebecca Fuchs added 11 kills and sophomore outside hitter Mariah Kahawaii had 10 kills and a pair of blocks.
Junior libero McKay Tarbox recorded 22 digs, while sophomore setter/outside hitter Samantha Staker had 27 assists.
Weber State outgained Southern Utah (1-0 Big Sky, 2-8 overall) in both kills (50-46) and total attacks (139-118), but the Thunderbirds capitalized on nine service aces and outblocked the Wildcats 14-9 on the night.
Southern Utah open the first set with a 5-0 surge, but Weber State rallied to take an 11-10 lead and two two teams battled until a late push earned the Thunderbirds the five-point win.
The Wildcats leveled the match at 1-1 with a strong second set.
Weber State held an early lead in the third set and was tied at 10-10 before a 7-1 surge pushed Southern Utah out front and allowed them to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
SUU came out flying to start the fourth set, taking a 7-2 lead before WSU rallied to take a 9-8 advantage. The Wildcats continued to lead much of the set, holding a 21-19 advantage before a 4-0 run by the Thunderbirds put the home team in from 23-21. SUU led 24-22 before back-to-back kills by Kahawaii and junior outside hitter Audrey Biggs leveled it at 24-24.
Southern Utah closed out the match with a kill and a Weber State attack error to take the four-set victory.
Weber State remains on the road and will travel to take on Northern Arizona on Saturday night.The Lumberjacks are 7-3 overall (1-0) in Big Sky play taking a five-set victory over Idaho State on Thursday.
* WSU STAGES HOME INVITE: The Weber State men's tennis team will open up their fall season today as they host the Weber State Invitational.
The tournament will begin at 1 p.m. with first round action in doubles, which will be followed by first round singles play. The tournament will continue on Saturday, with play beginning at 9 a.m., while the finals will begin on Sunday at 9 a.m. Weather permitting, all matches will be played at Edman Courts on the Weber State campus.
In addition to the Wildcats, the field includes Utah State, Idaho State, and Montana State. There will be three flights in singles, and one flight in doubles.
WSU sophomore Jakub Gewert leads the Wildcats into the tournament, having been selected as the top seed in the singles "A" flight, where he is joined by teammates Todd Fought (No. 4 seed) and Oliver Good.
Weber State's Caio Poitena is the No. 2 seed in the "B" flight, and is joined by Sanjay Goswami, who is the No. 3 seed. Ryan Garner and Landon Barlow are the top seeds in the "C" flight.
The Weber State women's squad is participating in the Jack Taylor Tennis Classic in Boise, Idaho.