GREELEY, Colo. -- The Wildcats finally found the winning combination.
Led by three players in double-figures kills, the Weber State University volleyball team earned a hard-fought 24-26, 25-23, 15-25, 25-21, 15-10 victory over Northern Colorado on Saturday night at Butler-Hancock Pavilion.
Sophomore outside hitter Rebecca Fuchs had 17 kills and hit a sizzling .500 with seven digs and five blocks, while junior outside hitter Audrey Biggs had 16 kills and hit .333 for the Wildcats, who captured their first conference victory and ended a seven-match skid.
Freshman outside hitter Ciera Borho, a Colorado native player her first collegiate match in her home state, had a career-high 14 kills, while adding seven digs and three blocks.
Sophomore setter/outside hitter Samantha Staker had a career-high 45 assists, while sophomore middle blocker Audrey Hunter added seven kills on a .500 attack percentage, and had four blocks for Weber State (1-3 Big Sky, 5-13 overall).
The Wildcats finished with 64 kills and hit .250, while the Bears (1-3 Big Sky, 5-9 overall) had 58 kills and hit .232.
Weber State opened the match strong, gaining 18 kills to just 10 from Northern Colorado in the opening set, but the Wildcats committed eight service errors in the set and fell 26-24.
WSU continued to play aggressive and even the match at 1-1 after opening up a 17-11 lead in the second set and then holding off UNC's comeback attempt.
The Bears played at their strongest in the third set, rolling to a 10-point win and a 2-1 advantage in the match.
Weber State and Northern Colorado battled fiercely early in the fourth set until Weber State broke 16-16 tie with kills from Hunter and Biggs and pushed the lead out to four points to close out the set and level the match at 2-2. Fuchs, Borho and Biggs each had two kills during the late stretch.
The Bears scored the first two points of the decisive fifth set, and led 7-5, but a kills by Biggs, a service ace from freshman middle blocker Katie Harvey and a kill by Hunter put the Wildcats up 8-7 when the teams switched ends.
After Northern Colorado tied it at 8-8, Weber State burst out on a 4-0 surge with kills from Hunter and Biggs and a pair of Bears' attack errors to make it 12-8. UNC briefly cut it to 12-10 on a kill from Kendra Cunningham, but Fuchs had two kills around a Northern Colorado error to end the match and give the Wildcats their first conference win.
It was Weber State's first win against Northern Colorado since Nov. 15, 2008.
After opening Big Sky play with four straight road matches, the Wildcats will return to Swenson Gym to kick off of a four-match home stand, beginning on Friday against Montana.