|Vandals win fifth straight|
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Four Idaho volleyball players reached double-figures in kills en route to a 25-17, 14-25, 25-17, 25-16 win at Grand Canyon in the regular season finale on Thursday night. The win is Idaho’s fifth straight and the Vandals will be the No. 4 seed in next week’s Western Athletic Conference tournament.
Jessica Hastriter had a team-high 14 kills and added four digs to go along with her .324 hitting percentage, while Katelyn Peterson had her third double-double of the season with 13 kills and 12 digs, and added three blocks. Taylor Wilkinson had a career-high 11 kills and hit .346 in the match and added two digs and three blocks. Alyssa Schultz added 10 kills on a team-best .400 hitting percentage and had seven blocks in the match.
“Offensively our outsides did some nice things,” Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said. “The biggest difference between the beginning of the match and the end was our outside hitters – and our right side hitters – really started to hit the tip and roll shot to challenge their defense a little more, which got them out of system and made a difference.”
Meredith Coba had 48 assists for the Vandals and added five blocks and four digs. Jenna Ellis had 19 digs and an ace in the match, and Terra Varney had 13 digs and two aces. Samantha Delmer had a career-high seven digs in the match and Ashley Christman finished with eight kills, six digs, two blocks and two aces for the Vandals.
Idaho held the ‘Lopes to a .148 hitting percentage and owned a 12-6 blocking advantage in the match. GCU’s Shannon Dugan had a match-high 21 kills but needed 55 swings to do it and hit .164.
The Vandals wrap up the regular season with an 18-10 overall record and an 11-5 mark in WAC play. Idaho will take on fifth-seeded Kansas City in the WAC quarterfinals on Monday in the same gym the won in on Thursday night, as Grand Canyon is hosting this year’s tournament. Kansas City is the only WAC tournament qualifier that was swept by Idaho in 2013.
Idaho rides a five-match win streak into the postseason, its longest of the season. The Vandals haven’t lost since a 3-1 defeat at the hand of New Mexico State back on Halloween. The winner of Monday’s match will face WAC regular-season champion and top-seeded New Mexico State on Nov. 26. The WAC championship match is Nov. 27.
“We’re getting better and we’re getting more consistent,” Buchanan said of her team’s win streak. “Even when we were down in game two, we were calm. We kept battling and that’s a good thing.”