The Vandals took on the Eastern Washington Eagles in their Dig for a Cure match on Saturday, and they continued their hot streak with a 3-1 win for their fifth straight win.
Idaho (12-7, BSC 8-1) faced adversity early, as the Eagles broke a 10-all tie in the first set with a 5-0 run that kept the set just out of reach. Eastern Washington (6-11, BSC 3-5) won the first set 25-21, but from then on there was never much doubt that the Vandals would pull through.
“I really want us to get to the point where we are pushing to control the match a little bit more,” Idaho head coach Debbie Buchanan said. “The girls know that we weren’t on our game 100 percent, but the fact that we were still able to battle and get the win was huge.”
And battle they did.
Idaho started the second set on a 10-2 run and was able to ride that advantage to a 25-18 win. Junior middle blocker DeVonne Ryter and junior outside hitter Sarah Sharp ended the set with an emphatic block to shift the momentum fully in Idaho’s favor before the break. Idaho made a serious change between the first and second sets, jumping from .250 to .424 hitting percentage. That shift proved to be an awakening of sorts, as Idaho would not be seriously threatened for the rest of the match.
The third set featured an almost identical performance from both teams. Idaho led by as much as 10 points and never trailed, coasting to win another set 25-17.
The Eagles put up much more of a fight in the final set. After trailing for the entirety of the second and third sets, Eastern Washington started with a 5-1 run to open the fourth set, but the Vandals once again would not be held down. The team quickly battled back to an 11-11 tie, and played tight with the Eagles throughout the fourth set on the way to a 25-23 win.
“The crowd tonight was awesome. It gave us that momentum we needed when we were a little bit down,” senior middle blocker Torrin Crawford said.
Crawford finished with 10 kills and four block assists. The Vandals finished with eight blocks as a team, twice as many as Eastern Washington.
Sharp paced the team with 17 kills, while junior outside hitter/middle blocker Reece Carman contributed 12 kills. Junior outside hitter/libero Alycia Wodke managed an impressive 23 digs, and Crawford and junior outside hitter Kaela Straw each contributed a solo block.
“We feel good as a team right now,” Crawford said. “We are not satisfied with any of our wins. We love winning, but there is no satisfaction and I think we realize we can do more and play better.”