Vandal volleyball dropped its third straight match Thursday night in Pocatello against Idaho State in game one of the season’s “Battle of the Domes” series.
Idaho (12-10, BSC 7-4) was swept once again, continuing a nine-set skid dating back to Oct. 14 at Eastern Washington. After beating the Gem State rival Vandals, 25-19, 26-4 and 25-20, Idaho State (10-14, BSC 7-4) improved to 7-1 in its last eight games.
Junior outside hitter Sarah Sharp once again put up a big offensive night, recording her sixth-straight double figure kill game with a contest-high 18. Sharp also improved on her hitting average, striking .452 on the night.
Idaho played from behind largely in the first set after tying it up early at 6-6 before kills from junior outside hitters Kaela Straw and Reece Carman propelled Idaho to a 10-7 lead. Two Bengal runs shifted the momentum midway through, the first putting Idaho State up 16-14. The next came a tad later, and ended up being the dagger, as orange and black went on a 7-2 run to close the set.
The Bengals came out in the second with a 9-6 lead early on. After a short bit of undecided advantage, Straw knocked down three straight kills, putting the Vandals up 17-15.
Idaho State then went on a run of its own to reclaim the lead at 19-18, squashing the upper hand Idaho appeared to have. The Vandals battled back to a 22-20 edge, but faltered late, only scoring two of the final eight points in the set.
After a deflating second for Idaho, the Bengals took advantage, recording their biggest lead of the night at 16-8. Idaho fought back, spreading the kill-love around to five separate attackers and cutting the lead to 22-19. Early hurdles in the set impeded an Idaho comeback and the Bengals were able to close out the set, 25-20.
Both teams dropped 52 kills, but Idaho committed 14 errors compared to just nine for the Bengals, who were able to capitalize on the weakness.
Idaho State also outhit its northern rival, .426 to .336. Junior middle blocker DeVonne Ryter affected Idaho’s percentage positively, going five for five on the night.
Straw finished right behind Sharp with 13 kills, the second highest mark of the game in front of Idaho State’s outside hitter Abby Garrity.
Head coach Debbie Buchanan said in a news release that she saw some good on the attack, but has yet to see her team work out all of the kinks.
“It is our serving and passing game that we are just not able to get consistent enough. We are just making too many errors. Our opponents have been playing better, cleaning things up. They have been more consistent,” Buchanan said. “We kind of plateaued out. We need to work to make our game a little bit better right now.”
The Vandals will look to make a mark in the win column for the first time in two weeks against the last team they defeated, Eastern Washington 6 p.m. Saturday in Cheney, Washington.
Colton Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @coltonclark95