|Pacific rallies to top Idaho|
MOSCOW - The Idaho volleyball team took two close sets to open the match, but Pacific rallied to win the final three to top the Vandals 3-2 in the season opener for both teams at the Idaho Nike Invitational in Memorial Gym Friday night.
Idaho won the first two sets 25-23 and 26-24 to pull ahead 2-0 on the Tigers, but Pacific won the final three 25-18, 25-17 and 15-9. The tournament concludes Saturday as Idaho hosts Montana at 12:30 p.m. and Washington State at 7 p.m.
Idaho sophomore middle blocker Alyssa Schultz led the way for the Vandals, finishing with 13 kills while hitting .478, and adding a team-high six blocks on the defensive side. Junior outside hitter Allison (Walker) Baker had a team-high 17 kills and 19 digs for the Vandals, but needed 64 attempts and hit .094, an area Idaho head coach Debbie Buchanan said the Vandals need to improve on.
"The thing that happened tonight is we really overloaded our outside," Buchanan said after the match. "We went to Allison and she had 64 attempts, and the next person had 42 and the next person had in the 20s. Everyone in the gym and on the other team knows where that ball is going to go so we've got to do a better job of our distribution and try to balance things out."
True freshman outside hitter Katelyn Peterson had 14 kills for Idaho and hit .310 with 42 attempts. Senior Janelle Chow had a career-high 26 digs, while freshman Jenna Ellis added 13 for Idaho. Senior Ryann Carter finished with 49 assists in the match, while setting the Vandals to a .168 hitting percentage. Junior Ashley Christman finished with eight kills for Idaho and senior Alex Sele added six.
The Vandals were down 20-17 as the first set was winding down, but went on a 4-0 run to pull ahead 21-20. The set was then tied at 21, 22 and 23 before Idaho got the final two points to win 25-23 and pull ahead 1-0. Idaho faced set-point twice in the second set, trailing 24-22 before it rallied for four straight points for a 26-24 win and a 2-0 match lead. But after that Pacific took over. The Tigers never trailed in the third set, and trailed only 1-0 in the fourth en route to 25-18 and 25-17 victories to tie the match. A 3-0 spurt by Pacific to break a 4-4 tie in the fifth set was all it needed to take the lead for good. Idaho came as close as 9-8, but could never even the score as the Tigers cruised to a 15-9 fifth-set win.
"We came out the first two games and I liked how our kids fought, we were behind but we battled through it," Buchanan said. "As we got through that match, after those first two games, we came out and we were a different team. We had too many errors from the service line, and just weren't taking care of the ball. That's something that we're definitely going to have to learn from. We have to finish from the beginning of the match till the very end."
Idaho had 59 kills and 27 errors on 191 attempts in the match to hit .168. Pacific hit .215 in the match with 63 kills and 25 errors on 177 attempts. Idaho had 55 assists, three aces, 15 service errors, 74 digs and 12.0 total blocks. Meanwhile, Pacific had 59 assists, six aces, eight service errors, 89 digs and 5.0 total blocks.