Volleyball dissects Weber State in quick, decisive win
GREELEY -- Northern Colorado Volleyball was never in danger of losing to Weber State on Thursday night, but the Bears let the winless Wildcats hang around a little for the first two sets.
Then, they played like a group trying to get home in time for Thursday night's new episode of Grey's Anatomy.
And they likely made it before the opening credits were complete after cruising to a 25-19, 25-16, 25-12 victory at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
Northern Colorado (12-6, 6-1 Big Sky) kept a zero in Weber State's win column (0-19, 0-7) with a dominating effort from start to finish, but coach Lyndsey Benson wasn't the happiest of campers late in the second set after the Wildcats sent three aces over the net to pull within 21-15.
She called a timeout, got her crew back in the right mind-set, and they went into intermission on a 4-1 run and a 2-0 advantage in the match.
The Bears then started the third set with a 16-3 run out of the gate before getting some freshmen and reserve players in the contest, including sophomore Donne' Elcock, who saw her first Big Sky action of the season and recorded a kill.
"When they would come out of timeouts and then in the locker room, we talked about being ready for them," said senior Amanda Arterburn, who finished with 15 digs for her 15th consecutive double-digit digs performance. "We never want to take any team lightly."
Northern Colorado held Weber State to a .021 hitting percentage for the match, out-dug it 43-19 and got 38 points off Wildcats errors.
"The hard thing is (Weber State is) unpredictable," Northern Colorado coach Lyndsey Benson said. "So, they're going to have a great swing, and then they're going to miss one, and then they're going to tip one, and, so, there's no routine to what's going on in that match. So, it's difficult in that regard. They are really capable in the hard-driven swings, but they weren't able to do that consistently tonight."
Freshman Tambre Haddock had the best offensive night of her season, Benson said. She slammed down nine kills on .500 hitting, had a service ace and got to seven digs. She led an offensive attack that resulted in 36 kills, including 10 from junior Kelley Arnold (.438) and eight from freshman Andrea Spaustat (.286).
"I thought Tambre maybe had the best offensive night of the year," Benson said. "I mean, she was hitting (.778) going into (set) three, so, she was getting good opportunities. I thought Marissa did a good job of setting Tambre tonight, and she took care of the ball and stayed aggressive and high. She just keeps improving."
Weber State, with a new first-year coach in Tom Peterson, is, obviously, in rebuilding mode this season, but it definitely features some bright spots and gave the Bears a great tune-up for their match Saturday night against Idaho State, which played at Northern Arizona on Thursday.
The Wildcats did win the blocking battle for the 10th consecutive match (8-4) with redshirt-freshman Ashley Orr leading the way with four.
"Weber State is a very good blocking team—they are No. 1 in the conference right now in blocking—and that's a challenge for our setter to find the right hitter at the right time to get away from the block," Benson said. "I thought we were really able to take some strides there for Marissa, finding the hitters, and [for] the hitters hitting around the block. That was our biggest gain from the match, is matching up against their blockers."