|Vandals win on senior night|
MOSCOW - The Idaho volleyball team sent its seniors off with a statement on Saturday night, as the Vandals beat UT Arlington 3-1 in Western Athletic Conference play on Senior Night for Idaho's six seniors.
After a 25-23 loss in the first set, the Vandals won 25-14, 30-28, 25-17 to improve to 14-13 on the season and 12-5 in the WAC. UT Arlington falls to 8-19 this year and 4-13 in the WAC.
Senior Alex Sele led the way for Idaho, finishing with 13 kills and no errors to hit .565 while added nine blocks, including three solo blocks. Senior Allison (Walker) Baker had 14 kills, 18 digs and eight blocks, tallying her 19th double-double of the season. Sophomore Alyssa Schultz had 13 kills, hit .440 and added six blocks for Idaho.
"Things just seemed to go well for me tonight, they just seemed to go my way," Sele said. "For me it was a fortunate night and I had fun, I had a great time playing with my teammates. I connected well with (setters) Jenny (Feicht) and Ryann (Carter) on the court. The setters did a great job and that played a big part of it. I don't think it could have been much better."
Feicht finished with 27 assists and five digs for Idaho, while Carter added 20 assists and six digs, and the two combined to set Idaho to a .277 hitting percentage.
With the match tied 1-1, the third set was a battle. The largest lead either team took was a four-point advantage, when UTA led 14-10. But a 5-0 Idaho run made it 15-14 and the set stayed tight until the finish. UTA had the first chance at winning the set, taking a 24-23 lead, but Sele came up with back-to-back kills to put Idaho ahead 25-24. After the teams traded points, UTA got two in a row to lead 27-26 with another chance to close out the set. A kill from Baker tied it at 27-all, and the teams exchanged attack errors before Schultz had back-to-back kills to give Idaho the 30-28 win.
"It was huge," Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said of winning the marathon set. "Anytime you can not go five sets, and keep the momentum going, that's what you need to do. Sometimes when you go five sets, even if you have control of the match, that let down of having to go five is the issue. I thought it was huge to for the kids to battle."
Freshman Katelyn Peterson finished with seven kills for Idaho and junior Ashley Christman added six and five blocks. Janelle Chow had 13 digs and Jenna Ellis added 10. Julia Church had four kills, three digs and two blocks in the match.
The Vandals out-hit UTA .277-.136 and owned an 18.5-10.0 advantage in blocks. Idaho's 18.5 total blocks annihilated the teams previous season high of 15.0 blocks in a match. UTA had a slim 62-61 edge in digs, and led in aces 5-3.
Idaho will wrap up the regular season at New Mexico State on Nov. 15. The Vandals and aggies enter the match in a tie for second place in the WAC, along with UTSA. The WAC Tournament begins Nov. 19 in San Antonio, Texas and will feature the top eight teams in the league.
"I honestly thought we would have been battling for first," Buchanan said. "We're not quite where I thought we would be but we can still be a in a good position if we put ourselves in second place. Whoever we match up with, we just have to understand that we can win. We just have to come out and play really good, we can dominate. Hopefully when we're on the road, when we're in Texas, our kids believe that as well and we come out and play hard."
NOTE: Allison (Walker) Baker will opt to not use her redshirt from the 2009 season.