| March 22, 2018

Volleyball: Sweeping Away a Win

Idaho volleyball pulled out a decisive three-set win over the Eastern Washington Eagles in Cheney to break a three-match losing streak.

Idaho (13-10, BSC 8-4) broke the nine-set slump against the team that started the skid, Eastern Washington (6-15, BSC 3-9) in a dominant three-set game to get Idaho back to their winning ways.

The first set showed the fire power of the Vandals with Idaho having an attack percentage of .600 and 13 total kills in the opening set. Junior outside hitter Sarah Sharp helped lead the way early with finishing out an early 6-0 run to put Idaho at a 12-5 early lead. The Vandals finished the set with a 25-11 win with Junior outside hitter Kaela Straw closing out the set with her third kill of the game.

Idaho slowed down in the second set hitting only a .216 attack percentage, but still finding a way to put away EWU. Back to back early 3-0 runs put the set at 12-9 with Idaho in the lead, with Eastern answering with another 6-0 run of their own to take a 17-6 lead.

The Vandals proved to be resilient behind junior middle blocker Devonne Ryter and freshman defensive specialist Maura Donovan to finish the set on a 9-1 run.

The Vandals did not escape with an easy sweep, with the Eagles battling to stay alive in the third set. Eastern Washington came out early with a vengeance to take a 7-2 lead. The Vandals fought to stay with the eagles to make the score 11-10 on a 3-0 lead. The Eagles continued to keep the lead at 17-14, but it was Ryter to the rescue to tie the game at 20 apiece, then again at 23.

Sharp ended the set with a match point ace to give Idaho the 26-24 set win, and the 3-0 victory sweep.

Sharp lead the game once again with 12 total kills with a .545 attack percentage. Ryter and Straw combined for 16 kills on the night, with eight to each. Idaho finished the game with a team total of 39 kills and a .330 attack percentage, with holding EWU to only a .084 percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Delaney Hopen gave Idaho a game high nine digs with Junior setter Haylee Mathis dishing out 29 assists. Senior middle blocker Torrin Crawford helped Idaho with a team high seven total blocks, along with six kills and an attack percentage of .545.

Idaho head coach Debbie Buchanan said in a news release how proud she was of her girls after the three-match sweep.

“I do think we came out strong in that first set. I was really hoping that we were going to be able to sustain that and keep the pressure on,” Buchanan said. “The fact that we were able to stick in it and make some big plays at the end to finish was huge for our team right now.”

The win gave Idaho their eighth sweep of the season and some momentum going into next week’s games.

The Vandals return home next week to face the Northern Colorado Bears 7 p.m. Thursday in Memorial Gym.

Chris Deremer can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu.

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