The Idaho volleyball team almost came back from a 2-0 deficit, but came up short and ultimately fell to North Dakota 3-2 Saturday at Memorial Gym.
The Vandals took the fourth set 25-10.
However, the Vandals were unable to get their second win this weekend as North Dakota was victorious in five sets (23-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-10, 9-15) on Dads’ Weekend.
Outside hitter Tineke Bierma, a fifth-year senior, earned a career-high 20 kills, the first Vandal to achieve this mark since Jessica Hastriter (23) and Katelyn Peterson (20) in 2013 against North Texas.
Bierma said she felt she played well individually. Beyond that, she said the fourth game showed how good the team can be as well, playing both offensively and defensively consistently.
“We were keeping balls in play, kill for kill with them, dig for dig with them,” Bierma said. “It was just a few little things like not picking up some of their tips and maybe getting in a few more serves.”
Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said she was pleased with Idaho’s performance on both sides of the court.
“If you look at the stats, we did some great things offensively, defensively, blocking … from every aspect of the game, even on the digging side,” Buchanan said.
The team made several little errors early on, such as passing the ball out of bounds and making blocking errors, Buchanan said. However, she said the team cleaned up the errors after the first two games and were able to come back to gain momentum.
“We just have to come out and really stay on it,” Buchanan said. “If we would have played like we did in games three and four, I think we would have won it.”
With two Big Sky Conference matches now in the books, Buchanan said Idaho has a lot of promise as the season moves forward.
As Idaho ended the weekend at 1-1, Buchanan said she would only make little adjustments to an otherwise solid match against North Dakota.
“We need to reduce ball handling and blocking errors,” Buchanan said. “Other than that, if I had to take (Saturday’s) stats to go on to my next game, I will take them. We don’t have to change anything. We just need to get more and more consistent as a team.”
Idaho hits the road for the next two games. It plays Northern Arizona at 7 p.m. Thursday in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Vandals then face Eastern Washington at 6 p.m. Saturday in Cheney, Washington.
“Preseason really prepared us to play on the road,” Bierma said. “We’re used to traveling, that different schedule, and not having our crowds … just playing consistently, playing our game, and reducing our errors will help us to win on the road. Making them beat us instead of beating ourselves.”
Luis Torres can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org