|Vandals fall in five-setter|
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - For the third time in four matches this season, the Idaho volleyball team went the distance with a five-set match, and Thursday night the Vandals came up short, falling 3-2 to Cal Poly.
The Vandals fall to 2-2 on the season with the 25-27, 25-23, 25-18, 16-25, 15-9 loss, while the Mustangs improve to 1-3.
The teams split a pair of tight sets to start the match as Idaho won 27-25 in the opener and Cal Poly evened the match with a 25-23 win in set two. The Mustangs took a 2-1 lead after a 25-18 win in the third set, but the Vandals then forced a decisive fifth-set with a 25-16 win in set four. Idaho hit .440 with 13 kills and just two errors on 25 attempts in the fourth set.
The fifth set, however, belonged to the Mustangs, who were playing in front of their home crowd for the first time this season. Cal Poly hit .286 compared to Idaho's .037 in the final set.
In a match with fairly even statistics across the board, Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said the difference came at the service line, where the Vandals committed 15 errors, compared to Cal Poly's seven. The Vandals hit .209 for the match with 10.0 total blocks and 71 digs. The Mustangs hit .208 with 6.0 blocks and 74 digs.
"Our distribution was good, we out-blocked them, our digging was even and our hitting was pretty much even," Buchanan said after the match. "The biggest difference in the match was from the service line. We had 15 missed serves."
Idaho also had six attack errors in the fifth set, aiding Cal Poly's 15-9 win.
"We came back in game four and hit .440 and did some great things, but then if you look in game five, we just made too many errors," Buchanan said. "It wasn't a lineup issue, or a matchup or anything like that. We just didn't execute and take care of the ball like we needed to. Offensively it's just execution."
Idaho junior outside hitter Allison (Walker) Baker had her fourth double-double in as many matches, finishing with 18 kills and 12 digs while hitting .192 and adding six blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Alyssa Schultz, the team's most efficient hitter, hit .452 in the match with a career-high 15 kills and just one error on 31 attempts. Shultz also added six blocks and three digs in the match. Senior middle blocker Alex Sele hit .350 with 11 kills in the match, and added three blocks for the Vandals.
Idaho senior Ryann Carter finished with 49 assists and seven digs in the match, and fellow senior Julia Church led the team with 16 digs. Senior Janelle Chow added 15 digs for Idaho, while true-freshman Jenna Ellis added 11. Junior Ashley Christman had eight kills in the match, while freshman Katelyn Peterson added five.
The Vandals continue their California road trip with matches against UC Santa Barbara and Northeastern at the UCSB Invitational Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. Both matches begin at 5 p.m. Idaho wraps up the trip with a visit to Cal. State Northridge on Sept. 3.