After a three game losing streak, the Idaho volleyball team defeated Southern Utah (0-5) 3-2 (25-21, 25-20, 22-25, 19-25, 19-17) Thursday in the Memorial Gym.
Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Sharp earned the match-winning kill and finished with a career-high 22 kills.
Junior outside hitter Becca Mau led with a career-high 24 kills.
Mau said she’s proud of her teammates effort.
“Every game we come in to a battle and no one was going to rollover us,” Mau said. “We came out in the fifth set wanting it more. The outcome was what we wanted at the end.”
Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said the team had to make changes in the final set.
“Southern Utah came out and did a much better job adjusting their block,” Buchanan said. “They were playing great defense and picking up some of our shots. We have to work hard on our pins.”
The Vandals took set one 25-21 with a match-high 0.36 hitting percentage.
A rowdy crowd filled the Memorial Gym and Mau said the team appreciates the noise.
“We love it every time when the community comes out and supports us,” Mau said. “Even in the tough points, they were there supporting and cheering us on and it really paid off.”
Idaho took set two 25-20 after a service error by Southern Utah.
The Thunderbirds won set three 25-22 and set four 25-19.
Idaho (2-3) slowly reduced Southern Utah’s lead in set five. The Vandals were down 13-11 when Southern Utah coach Craig Choate called a timeout.
Mau helped Idaho come back with an attack error and two kills in a row.
The Thunderbirds lost the final set 19-17.
Buchanan said she was pleased with the team’s sense of urgency.
“It was nice to see that,” Buchanan said. “We typically felt the urgency of ‘I got to make a play.’ We’re trying to get them to push a little bit stronger so we’re not having to be in those situations. But the fact that we’re able to battle and really come back is big for our team.”
The Vandals play Northern Arizona 7 p.m. Saturday in the Memorial Gym.
Luis Torres can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @TheLTFiles