Game 1: Idaho vs Western Carolina
After a career match for outside hitter Becca Mau, the Idaho volleyball team was unable to pull off the win against Western Carolina to start their weekend at Tennessee Tech’s Eblen Center.
Mau led the match in kills with 19, the most by any Vandal since Jessica Hastriter in 2013 against North Texas, where she earned 23.
The Vandals were able to have a .200 attack percentage and outhit the Catamounts who had a .166 to Idaho’s .206.
However, neither advantage was enough to beat Western Carolina as the Catamounts defeated Idaho 3-1 (25-17, 19-25, 28-26, 25-21).
After winning the second set, Idaho made an attempt to take the match lead late in the third set as they led 16-13 over Western Carolina. But the Catamounts fought back and soon tied the match at 18 after their offense put up multiple kills on the court.
Idaho quickly took the lead after a ball handling error by Jo-Leigh Vervelde. But the next two plays consisted of two errors for the Vandals.
The Vandals would pull away with a 23-21 lead, highlighted with a kill from Katelyn Peterson and an assist by Natalie Jensen.
Western Carolina took advantage of Idaho’s errors and scored seven out of the next ten points to win the set. The Catamounts final seven points also includes multiple kills and a service ace by Vervelde to end the set and lead Idaho 2-1.
Idaho’s six errors in the fourth set to Western Carolina’s three and a slight lead in attack percentage helped the Catamounts to win the deciding set, putting Idaho now 2-8 this season.
The Vandals will play again at 3 p.m. against Towson for Idaho’s second match in the Golden Eagle Invitational.
Game 2: Idaho vs Towson
What appeared to be a third win for Idaho changed in the final two sets as they lost a hard fought match against Towson in five sets (25-23, 19-25, 25-20, 22-25, 15-10), at the Eblen Center.
After the Vandals lost in the first invitational match against Western Carolina, Idaho had a comfortable 16-9 lead in the fourth set after a kill by Katelyn Peterson which led Towson calling a timeout.
Things changed when freshmen Jocelyn Kuilan contributed to the Tigers comeback as they scored six out of the next seven points and caught up with the Vandals. Kuilan had two kills and two blocks in this drive while Peterson committed three straight attack errors.
Idaho now had a 16-15 lead but the Tigers continued their momentum as nine out of their final ten points were kills from several Towson players. Kuilan finished the set with a kill to tie the match at 2, entering the fifth set.
With the Vandals dropping the set, it came down to the final set where the first team to score 15 points and lead by two wins the match.
This time around, both teams fought neck and neck without a clear leader in the set. However, once they tied at 8, Idaho’s foe returned as the next two plays consisted of errors that gave the Tigers a 10-8 lead until Becca Mau earned the kill.
After Mau’s kill, the Vandals only scored one more time as Towson scored five out of the last six points to win the match after facing a potential loss halfway in the fourth set.
Torrin Crawford led Idaho in attack percentage with .632 along with her 13 kills. Mau backed up her 19 kills against Western Carolina with 12 against Towson.
With another tough loss, the Vandals are now 2-9.
Game 3: Idaho vs Tennessee Tech
With a strong second set run, the Idaho volleyball team prevails over the invitational host Tennessee Tech in a 3-0 sweep (25-19, 25-17, 25-10) to wrap up their last game of the non-conference season at the Eblen Center.
After a kill by Golden Eagle Cody Dodd, Coach Debbie Buchanan called a timeout for Idaho after being down 17-13 in the second set. Once both teams returned to the court, the game saw a drastic change in favor for the Vandals.
Dodd went from having a kill the last play to committing a service error, reducing Idaho’s deficit to three points. The next three plays consisted of three straight attack errors which put both teams at 17.
From this point on, Idaho’s offense took over as they continued their 4-0 run with a service ace by Natalie Jensen, taking the lead for the first time in the set.
Idaho continued to score with kills by Sarah Sharp, Torrin Crawford, and Jensen. The Golden Eagles were unable to score while Idaho ended the set with a 12-0 run after Shealene Little was blocked by Sharp and Crawford to end the set. Both Sharp and Crawford led the team in blocks with six.
However, the Golden Eagles once again had the early advantage with a 6-3 lead. But attack errors hurt Tennessee Tech’s momentum and the Vandals were able to take the lead after scoring six out of the next seven points.
Becca Mau ended the match with her leading 10th and final kill to capture Idaho’s third win of the season. Mau totaled 41 kills this weekend in Cookeville, the most among any Vandal at the Golden Eagle Invitational.
Mau and Crawford were named All-tournament this weekend, it is Mau’s second all-tournament honors this season and Crawford’s first.
With the final invitational in the books, Idaho now shifts their focus to the Big Sky Conference. It plays Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. on Sept. 24 at Memorial Gym.