Volleyball: Vandals triumph again

Idaho vs Southern Utah

The Idaho Vandals (9-7, BSC 4-1) defeated the Southern Utah Thunderbirds (5-12, BSC 0-5) Thursday 3-1.

Idaho head coach Debbie Buchanan said in a news release she recognized that the team had issues during the game, even after the exciting victory.

“Obviously, it was not our best night,” Buchanan said. “I do not think we came out with the intensity of playing our game. We are really up and down. I thought at least offensively from the service line we were able to do some things — and blocking wise. It is a win. Sometimes it is hard to get those wins on the road.”

The Vandals didn’t come out with the same fire the Thunderbirds had in the first set of the game. Idaho was hitting .154 percent while SUU was hitting .324 percent. Southern Utah has yet to receive a Big Sky win and faught for it against Idaho. The Thunderbirds shut Idaho out of the set 25-21 in the first match.

In the second game, the Thunderbirds put the first point on the board with a ball handling error from the Vandals. Idaho responded with a 5-0 run to put a gap between the two teams. Idaho later took a 16-9 advantage. A pair of kills from junior outside hitter/middle blocker Reece Carman and junior outside hitter Sarah Sharp created a 4-0 push for the Vandals leading to a 25-22 Idaho victory.

The third round went a little differently for the Vandals. Idaho held the momentum from the last match and doubled it, setting the pace for the rest of the game.

Idaho was shaky at the start of the match trailing SUU 7-6. Before Idaho fans had time to worry, a kill from junior middle blocker DeVonne Ryter tied the game up at 7-7. With the help of blocks and kills from Carman and Sharp, the Vandals found themselves on an 11-0 run and with a 17-7 lead. Idaho came out on top with a 25-13 victory.

Buchanan said she was pleased with the way her team fought through to get the win.

“That (run) was huge,” Buchanan said.  “We came and I felt that was the one game we took complete control of. We were aggressive. We played our game. We made an adjustment in our back row which I think helped us. We just have to make those adjustments throughout the match.”

Straw came out of this round with nine of her 22 game kills with a .429 attack percentage.

Idaho hit a match-best .441 percent. Idaho took a final 25-22 win from SUU with a small fight for the lead in the middle of the game.

Junior outside hitter Kaela Straw led the game with 22 kills. Junior setter Haylee Mathis finished the game with 55 assists and junior outside hitter/ libero Alycia Wodke led the game in digs with a total of 21.

Idaho vs Northern Arizona

The Vandals (10-7, BSC 5-1) are now sitting nicely in the Big Sky Conference after beating Northern Arizona (6-11, 2-4 BSC) 3-2. It was a hard-fought battle for Idaho but the team returns home after a 2-0 weekend.

“I am really proud of our team,” Buchanan said. “We had to dig in and fight to the end. We struggled with our serving and passing at times today. I liked how we kept fighting and made the big plays all the way to the end.”

Idaho had four players finish in double digits with kills. Straw came in strong offensively. She ended the game with 21 kills as well as six blocks and nine digs, which is her team best.

Sharp finished with a career best in kills, topping out at 19.

Arizona native junior middle blocker Devonne Ryter added 12 kills for the team and marked a new personal season best. Senior middle blocker Torrin Crawford also added to the season bests of the night finishing with 10 good kills.

The Vandals ended the game with a season high 72 kills. They also hit .274 percent on the match.

Idaho came out in the first set strong with an 8-2 run, helping the Vandals receive the match victory. Back-to-back kills from Straw lead to a strong finish 26-24 for Idaho.

The second set of the game favored the Lumberjacks. Overcoming a Vandal lead early in the match, the Lumberjacks found themselves on a 7-1 run to claim a 9-7 lead. Idaho fought back, evening the score up at 16 with the help of two key kills from NAU’s Kaylie Jorgenson. The Lumberjacks took a 25-20 victory in the set.

Idaho took another 25-18 victory in the third set on account of the team hitting .312 percent in the frame.

NAU and Idaho battled back and forth the entirety of the fourth set with a 18 ties. NAU ended up winning the game 29-27 following the Lumberjacks’ 5-2 final run.

The final set ended in a similar outcome with a tight battle for the win with 14 different tie breaks. A Lumberjack attack error clinched another win for Idaho at 20-18.

Idaho will start a four-game battle on the home court against Weber State 7 p.m. Thursday in Memorial Gym.

Marisa Lloyd can be reached are arg-sports@uidaho.edu


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