The Idaho volleyball team continued to improve on the court and establish team chemistry over the weekend as the team competed in its first home competition of the spring.
The Vandals faced regional opponents Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) and Spokane Falls Community College at the Memorial Gym Saturday.
The Vandals earned a 3-0 victory in each meeting, sweeping both opponents.
Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said consistency played a key in the teamâ€™s performance.
â€œOverall, we played really consistent Saturday,â€ Buchanan said. â€œOffensively, weâ€™re starting to connect a little bit more than we have been. We played a lot steadier and our passing and offensive numbers went up quite a bit.â€
Senior defensive specialist Terra Varney said both victories were a huge boost for the program.
â€œWeâ€™ve been working on the things we needed to work on and we just gelled as a team,â€ Varney said. â€œWeâ€™re all playing together really well and it was a good weekend for us.â€
Idaho cruised to victory in the first set against the Warriors, earning a 25-16 win.
Inconsistent serving and several errors allowed LCSC to remain competitive in the second set, but the Vandals squeezed by with a 25-23 win. It was Idahoâ€™s closest margin of victory during the weekend.
The final set of the match concluded with a kill by junior outside hitter Becca Mau, giving Idaho the third set win 25-18.
Mau said the team was more prepared for competition in comparison to the previous tournament in Pullman.
â€œWe went in knowing that we going to have a lot to work to do,â€ Mau said. â€œThis past week in practice, we focused on practicing our skills. Especially our serve and receive passing and building trust this spring. We did a lot better in our passing along with just connecting with Haylee (Mathis) as our only setter.â€
Mau said Mathis has done a great job filling the primary setter role left behind by Vandal graduate Meredith Coba.
â€œAs our only setter, Haylee has got a ton of reps,â€ Mau said. â€œSheâ€™s getting the hang of it pretty quick. Weâ€™re wanting to run that faster offense, so Iâ€™m excited to see how she does going forward.â€
Idaho also earned a sweep over Spokane Falls (25-16, 25-14, 25-12), as Casey Klineâ€™s kill ended the game in a Vandal victory.
Buchanan said despite a lack of scrimmaging during practice, the teamâ€™s confidence improved against Spokane Falls.
â€œWeâ€™re gaining more confidence,â€ Buchanan said. â€œOur chemistry and our whole team dynamic is building and itâ€™s been really good.â€
Mau said the team was able to find consistency on starting and finishing games.
â€œLast Saturday, we kind of struggled on staying strong from beginning of the game to the end,â€ Mau said. â€œIt was another big focus we had going in Saturday. We just went in with the mindset that weâ€™re going to focus on our side of the court and have a lot of fun.â€
Varney said there are some plays the team will continue to work on during practice.
â€œWeâ€™ll still work on continuing to build our trust and work on our cross patterns,â€ Varney said. â€œThereâ€™s a lot of balls that were dropping just because we werenâ€™t quite trusting each other together. So we need to just keep playing together at all times but we still did a good job throughout the week and both matches Saturday.â€
Buchanan said the team made occasional errors Saturday, but she saw hustle on the court.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to get them to be real aggressive,â€ Buchanan said. â€œI thought we saw some really good balls going in that were good and tough. It caused the other team to continue to either zero to one passes. We had some misses, but we got to work through that and get it fixed before the fall.â€
Luis Torres can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TheLTFiles