Sometimes, good things take time.
The Vandals were led with a strong effort from Meredith Coba. She tallied 48 assists in the match.On Friday, Idaho took on Boise State in front of a raucous crowd of more than 1,300 fans. The Vandals defeated the Broncos 25-23, 25-20, 21-25 and 26-24.
“The crowd was more than we could ask for,” Coba said. “At one point, it sounded like surround sound in here when they were going on both sides. I just wish we could have done it in three (games).”
Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said the crowd was of the most energetic she has ever seen.
“That was probably the most amazing crowd that we’ve had here almost in my 15 years,” Buchanan said. “I thought the girls rose to the challenge. It was a competitive match from the beginning to the end.”
Buchanan highlighted the play of seniors Jessica Hastriter and Alyssa Schultz. Hastriter finished with a team-high 14 kills and Schultz had 13. Schultz completed the match with a hefty .684 hitting percentage.
Ali Forde returned to the court for the Vandals after only playing one set on Thursday against Missouri. She had nine kills against BSU and 13 against Portland.
Saturday’s match against the Pilots lacked the energy of Friday’s. Buchanan said it was a test for Idaho to perform with the same energy as the night before.
“The question is ‘Can we come back today and be able to have that same intensity without the crowd?'” Buchanan said. “Can we come and play for us and really play our game? So I think that’s going to be the challenge.”
After such an emotional win the night before, Buchanan said the Vandals came out a little slow Saturday.
“We came into today and it was a little quieter,” Buchanan said. “We just weren’t ready to get going and it took us a while to kind of build and get into a good rhythm.”
Idaho lost the first set to Portland 25-22. It came back and took the final three games 25-23, 25-20 and 25-16.
“It was such an emotional game that we kind of came in here this morning and it’s not the same atmosphere,” Coba said. “We started slow, but we got into it and it’s nice to get that win after a big game last night.”
Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the Vandals this weekend was the balanced offensive attack. Five players recorded at least 17 hitting attempts in four sets against Portland.
“It makes my job a lot easier having hitters who can all put the ball down,” Coba said. “I trust every one of them and it’s just awesome being able to spread the offense.”
Buchanan said it was a goal for Idaho to spread the offense and take pressure off the outside hitters.
“If we rely on one player, we’re going to have a hard time winning,” Buchanan said. “One of the switches we made is we realized they had a hard time stopping our right side player, so we flipped our lineup so we can get our right side in the front row earlier. I think that helped us in the last two games.”