Confidence helped the Idaho volleyball team start off Big Sky Conference play with a 3-1 win over Northern Colorado Thursday at Memorial Gym.
Senior setter Meredith Coba led the Vandals in assists with 20 and at the end of the night, became the seventh Vandal to earn more than 2,500 assists.
“Being a setter, you rely on your hitters to hit the ball down,” Coba said. Without her teammates helping her out, Coba said it would have been impossible for her to accomplish the milestone.
Coba said the win for Idaho is a step in the right direction.
“This is exactly what we needed to do,” Coba said. “We just play together as a team, keep our percentages up and ball out.”
Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said Idaho’s blocking and Northern Colorado’s 51 errors helped the Vandals.
“That was a big difference in the match with us to be able to keep that point separation and our errors more to a minimal than they were,” Buchanan said.
Idaho began the opening set with a convincing lead highlighted by a 3-0 run. It was started by sophomore outside hitter Becca Mau, who earned two straight kills and put Idaho in an 11-6 lead.
Despite the Bears catching up on multiple occasions, they were unable to take the lead until Kendra Cunningham earned three straight kills, which put the Bears up 20-18.
Late errors from the Vandals prevented Idaho from winning the set. Northern Colorado won the set 25-20 despite its low attack percentage.
The Bears struggled late in the second set by committing errors. The Vandals won the set 25-18 after a block from senior outside hitter Katelyn Peterson and freshman middle blocker Laine Waters.
Idaho’s momentum continued in the next set as Idaho won the third set 25-19.
In the fourth set, the Bears had their highest attacking percentage (.310) as they took the lead midway into the set and held on for a period of time.
A block by Mau put Idaho in good position to win the match and after another error from Northern Colorado, Idaho won the set 26-24 to capture its fourth win of the season.
Senior outside hitter Tineke Bierma, who led Idaho with 12 kills, said the Vandals were able to stop Northern Colorado from forcing a fifth set by playing consistent.
“It’s been something that we’ve been working on a lot in practices and playing when we’re down, playing consistent regardless of the score,” Bierma said. “Whether we’re up by ten points or down ten points … trying to play consistent volleyball the whole time.”
Idaho faces North Dakota at 1 p.m. Saturday in Memorial Gym as part of Dads’ Weekend.
Luis Torres can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org