The Idaho volleyball team’s quest for the Big Sky Conference Tournament took another hit Saturday. Eastern Washington dominated the Vandals 3-2 (24-26, 25-23, 19-25, 25-21, 7-15) in the Memorial Gym.
The Eagles offense committed one error and hit a match-high 0.45 percent.
“It’s a disappointing loss for us,” Idaho head coach Debbie Buchanan said. “The girls really battled back and had our opportunity in game one but we didn’t finish that set. We had the momentum and came out flat in game five. That’s where we really have to keep executing the game and we didn’t.”
Sophomore outside hitter Kaela Straw led Idaho (2-6) with 13 kills.
The match had its share of dramatic outcomes including the opening set.
The Vandals led 23-21 but the Eagles responded with three straight points.
Eastern Washington’s run came with controversy, as officials ruled two plays an error on Idaho. Several players voiced their opinion on the call.
Buchanan said the team needs to remain composed.
“They have to play and that’s one thing that talking to them is ‘we can say stuff to the refs but we got to play and compete,’” Buchanan said. “Not every call is going to go our way.”
The Eagles won set one 26-24.
Idaho trailed in set two until a kill by Straw started a 5-0 run for the Vandals.
Straw made a kill and helped Idaho win 25-23.
Junior middle blocker Torrin Crawford grabbed two blocks after sitting out with an injury Thursday.
“As Torrin gets healthy, we got to get her more reps,” Buchanan said. “We have to also watch her to make sure that she’s able to go in practice and limit her reps a little bit.”
Straw said the team’s health is important going forward.
“We just need to start getting healthy,” Straw said. “We really need to work on our side of the court because we’re better than what we’re showing.”
Eastern Washington led start to finish in set three and won 25-19.
In set four, blocks by Straw and sophomore outside hitter DeVonne Ryter tied the set at 13.
Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Sharp followed up with a kill.
Straw earned the set-winning kill as the Vandals won 25-21. The Eagle offense ran away with a 15-7 win in set five.
Buchanan said the team needs discipline on defense.
“We’re backing out and caught off balance,” Buchanan said. “The team has to make sure that they stay in all of those plays. We really need to get it turned around here and get things going.”
The Vandals face Sacramento State 7 p.m. Thursday in California.
Luis Torres can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @TheLTFiles