|Vandals come up short|
MOSCOW - After gaining a 2-1 overall advantage and jumping out to a 6-1 lead in game four against Utah State, the Idaho volleyball team looked poised to win its seventh straight match and gain sole possession of first place in the Western Athletic Conference on Thursday night.
But the Aggies seized the momentum when it mattered most, winning game four 25-20 before clinching the match with a 15-8 win in game five.
"Every time you lose it's a missed opportunity, it doesn't matter if it's for first place," Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said. "It's every time you lose. We definitely had the opportunity in game four. If would have taken a few of those errors out and not missed so many serves, the game probably would have been different."
In addition to four hitting errors, the Vandals were aced twice by the Aggies and committed one service error in the fifth game. The Vandals hit .100 in the game while USU hit .304.
"A volleyball match can really be up and down as far as momentum, and they hung in there and they finished until the end," Buchanan said of Utah State. "In game five, that's a really poor performance for us to make that many errors. We had four hitting errors and a couple ball-control errors. We probably gave them seven points, and you're just not going to win a game like that."
Utah State entered the match in first place in the WAC, with Idaho in second place just a half game behind. The 19-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 15-8 loss snaps Idaho's six-match win streak, and drops the Vandals to 9-11 overall and 7-3 in the WAC, while Utah State improves to 14-7 overall and 9-2 in conference play.
Idaho hit .400 in game one, and held Utah State to a .128 hitting percentage in a 25-19 win, but the Aggies raised their hitting percentage in each game, hitting .167 in a game-two win, .282 in game three and .289 in game four before its .304 percentage in game five.
"We had spurts where we played really good, and then there were times when we committed too many errors," Buchanan said. "We knew going in to this match that Utah State is a great volleyball team. They're leading the conference defensively, they're leading the conference in opponent hitting percentage."
Idaho hit .194 in the match, while the Aggies hit .227. It was Idaho's lowest hitting percentage since a Sept. 20 loss at San Jose State, when the Vandals hit .113 in a 3-0 loss. Utah State out-dug Idaho 98-84, owned a 13.0-9.0 advantage in blocks, and had a slim 64-62 edge in kills. Idaho finished with seven aces in the match, while USU had five.
Allison (Walker) Baker had her 14th double-double of the season with 19 kills and 14 digs, and added four blocks in the match while hitting .172. Katelyn Peterson added 13 kills and eight digs, and hit .140 for the Vandals, and Ashley Christman had 11 kills and hit .308. Alex Sele had nine kills and just one error, hitting .400 and added two blocks, while Alyssa Schultz had seven kills and six blocks.
Janelle Chow finished with a match-high 27 digs and had one ace, Jenna Ellis had 14 digs and two aces, and Ryann Carter had 20 assists and three aces. Jenny Feicht had 32 assists, four digs and two kills for the Vandals. Julia Church had 10 digs, two blocks and a kill.
The Vandals return to action Oct. 20 to host San Jose State at 7 p.m. in Memorial Gym.