| March 20, 2018

Column: Tough weekend, good learning experience for volleyball

September 1, 2015

Garrett Cabeza | Argonaut Sports Editor

Garrett Cabeza | Argonaut Sports Editor

The season is young.

That’s what the Idaho volleyball team should think as it adjusts to the Pacific Time zone again.

The Vandals returned home from Honolulu and the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational recently in which it dropped three matches to start the season.

No. 18 Hawaii beat the Vandals Friday night, Oregon State defeated Idaho Saturday and Wichita State beat the Vandals Sunday.

All three of those opponents are some of the best teams in the nation. None of them are slouches.

Hawaii is a NCAA Tournament regular, having made more than 30 trips to the tournament in the program’s history.

The Rainbow Wahine is led by head coach Dave Shoji, who is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball history.

Playing a top-25 team on the road to open the season is a tough matchup, especially for young players. So the Vandals should learn from that match and put it behind them right away, as I am sure they did when they played Oregon State the next day.

Oregon State and Wichita State are capable of reaching the NCAA Tournament this year.

The two teams aren’t listed in the top-25 AVCA coaches poll but they did receive votes in the poll. So, they are both close to cracking the top-25.

The bottom line is Idaho played some quality teams over the weekend so it shouldn’t be discouraged, especially since those games were just the first three of many more to come.

The Vandals will have the opportunity to rack up some wins this weekend at the Idaho Volleyball Classic at Memorial Gym. Idaho will play Seattle U Friday and UC Irvine and Washington State Saturday.

The Vandals should be fired up to bounce back from last weekend and play their first home games of the season.

The Rainbow Wahine Invitational should ultimately help Idaho in the long run, including this weekend’s matches. Hawaii, Oregon State and Wichita State will be some of the toughest, if not the toughest, teams Idaho will play all year.

Since Idaho was tested early in the season against those top teams in the country, it will be ready to play at a high level in future matches, especially the important Big Sky Conference matches.

Playing those tough teams in Honolulu will only make Idaho better. The Vandals won’t get better by playing bad teams because they might tend to play down to those teams’ level.

Idaho will answer right back. It has too much talent not to.

With seniors like Meredith Coba, Jenna Ellis and Katelyn Peterson leading the way, the Vandals won’t stay in this little rut.

The Vandals will be ready to go Friday.

Garrett Cabeza can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @CabezaGarrett

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