Northern Colorado Stuns Weber State Volleyball in Big Sky Straight-Out Title Saga | News, Sports, Jobs

Robert Casey, Weber State Athletics

Weber State volleyball players line up on the baseline ahead of a Big Sky Tournament semi-final game against Northern Colorado on Friday, November 19, 2021 at Swenson Gym in Ogden.

OGDEN – The Swenson Gym was electric on Saturday night.

The Big Sky tournament championship game between the No.1 seed and host Weber State, and the No.2 seed from northern Colorado, saw crowded pits, a full set of small bleachers added in. a corner, people standing along a back wall, and many people – including a crowd of WSU football players – standing on the athletic track that oversees the gymnasium.

Senior outside forward Rylin Adams had an excellent all-time straight-set game – 22 kills, just four off a new career high – as the Wildcats led 2-1 and the gym rebounded.

It was electric, that is, until it wasn’t.

Northern Colorado improved their game, Weber State also stopped passing and the Bears rallied to win in five sets to stun the reported crowd of 1,286 fans, all loyal to the WSU except a few dozen. from northern Colorado.

Weber State’s historic 27-game winning streak at home, two back-to-back regular season titles and a possible second straight trip to the NCAA tournament were stopped by Mackenzie Harris and the Bears by scores of 30-28, 21 -25, 14- 25, 25-22, 15-8.

“We just stopped passing the ball. When we don’t pass the ball we become very one-dimensional and they can line up Rylin, ”WSU head coach Jeremiah Larsen said. “We have to be diverse in our attack and we weren’t, we got super one-dimensional so we struggled to pull away and transition with the balls. They played a little better but we didn’t receive their serve very well at all and that really puts a lot of weight on (Adam’s) shoulders.

Although he started 3-0 in the fifth set, Weber State narrowed it down to 4-4 before Harris took over. Harris fielded four straight kills to give northern Colorado an 8-4 lead, then served an ace to make it 10-6 to meet an Adams ace. Harris finished with 23 kills.

Adams has eclipsed his career high point in wins and set a new high mark for the Big Sky this season, with a pair of home stretch wins to give him 27, but it wasn’t enough and the Bears stormed the ground as champions.

Made to stay on the floor for tournament honors – Adams and senior midfielder Sam Schiess were named to the all-tournament squad – near-fury seemed to emerge from all-time competitor Adams while she was sitting on the sidelines, with a hollow Ashlyn Power, the senior setter still in her eyes, beside her. The Wildcats had taken a 2-1 lead with a convincing 25-14 victory and now had to watch the Bears celebrate on their home turf.

Larsen finally sat down next to Adams and put his arm around her.

“She is a passionate child. I gave her her moment and then I told her to hold her head up and be proud of the things she’s done in her career, ”said Larsen. “It was time to let go and realize that she was doing all she could to be successful. I was super proud of her, who she is and what she did.

The hardest pill to swallow, looking back, was Weber State was four set points away from a title sweep.

The epic first set, presaging the upcoming game, was almost under two points away. He hit a set point of 24-23 for northern Colorado before Adams kills and an ace from Kate Standifird gives Weber a set point of 25-24 – then 26-25, then 27 -26, then 28-27 after scandalous Makayla Sorensen’s search led to Adams murder.

But northern Colorado pushed back the set point each time, and two kills from Kailey Jo Ince and a solo block from Cece Huhn delivered a 30-28 victory.

Adams’ 27 kills place her third in Weber state history with 1,401.

Power has distributed 56 assists and, having long ago become the queen of assists at Weber State, totaled 5,518 in her career, which is No.1 in Big Sky history at the era of rallies (and n ° 2 in total).

And Schiess was nearly unstoppable at first, attacking 0.800 or more in the third set before finishing with 14 kills on a 0.538 clip. She is now at a career 0.329 hit percentage, second all-time in Weber State history.

“They are the world to me. I love these three kids, ”Larsen said of the three elderly, stopping to gather. “They came here when we weren’t good and they believed in something we didn’t have. And being able to win two regular season championships, a tournament championship and an NCAA tournament victory is a dream come true for these kids. All they do is put it all on the line for me, so yeah, they’re incredibly special to me.

“They’re just wonderful people, great leaders, and they’ve taken this program from nothing to something.”

Sorensen had 24 digs and Power had 22 digs. Adams added 15 digs and three aces to his night. Schiess had 12 assists and a solo block, including a streak where she and Emma Mangum combined to block four consecutive northern Colorado swings in a second set end, the last ultimately culminating in a point.

Northern Colorado (24-6) awaits its destination in the NCAA tournament. Weber State (20-9) is a lock on the National Invitational Volleyball Championship if they choose to participate.


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