The Idaho volleyball team dropped two games during Homecoming Week.
The Vandals (1-2) fell 3-1 (22-25, 18-25, 25-19, 18-25) against North Dakota (2-1) in the Memorial Gym Thursday.
Junior outside hitter Becca Mau earned her first career double-double with 17 kills and 11 digs.
Mau said she’s focusing on team progress.
“We’re trying to put the pieces together,” Mau said. “The accolades mean nothing to me because, at the end of the day, we want that win. We want to play Vandal volleyball and that means the whole team working hard.”
Idaho head coach Debbie Buchanan said the team felt jittery on the court.
“(The team) has to keep working and execute,” Buchanan said. “We got to stay in it for the whole stretch and not just one point on a time.”
Idaho began set one with a 4-1 run, highlighted by senior defensive specialist Terra Varney’s first of four aces.
The Fighting Hawks responded with five straight points and took the lead.
The crowd roared after freshman defensive specialist Tara Eaton saved the ball from falling out of bounds. Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Sharp answered with a kill.
North Dakota’s match-high 0.37 hitting percentage helped the Fighting Hawks take set one 25-22.
The Vandals started 7-4 in the second set.
Idaho struggled to hit above the net during a 5-0 run from North Dakota.
Freshman outside hitter Paige Rupiper had two kills. North Dakota took set two 25-18.
Rupiper earned a career-high nine kills.
Idaho led 8-4 in set three with a fourth ace from Varney.
Varney brought the crowd to its feet after an unconventional dig-kill extended Idaho’s lead 15-12.
Varney smacked the ball as she rolled on the ground. The ball landed center court for one point.
Idaho took set three 25-19 after blocks by Mau and Ryter.
“We came out fast and pushed all the way through,” Buchanan said of set three. “We executed and didn’t have as many errors. That’s something that we have to keep working on.”
The Fighting Hawks won set four 25-18.
After a hard fourth set, Idaho lost 3-1 (27-25, 13-25, 21-25, 24-26) against Northern Colorado (3-1).
Varney led Idaho with 22 digs and two aces.
She said the Bears knew how to control the court.
“We knew that Northern Colorado was going to be a tough opponent,” Varney said. “We just got to learn from our loss and play them next time when it counts.”
Idaho won the first set 27-25 after junior middle blocker Torrin Crawford and freshman outside hitter Rupiper blocked the ball from the Bears.
Northern Colorado started set two 10-3 and took the set 25-13.
The Bears continued the winning ways with a set three win 25-21.
Buchanan said Idaho improved from Thursday’s loss.
“We were in (sync) a little bit more,” Buchanan said. “We didn’t have many missed serves, overall we didn’t have as many errors but we have to keep scaling it back.”
Idaho hosts Southern Utah 7 p.m. Thursday in the Memorial Gym.
Luis Torres can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TheLTFiles