|Vandals swept by NAU|
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Idaho volleyball team had its chances to extend the match, but Northern Arizona, which hasn’t lost a set in 2013, rose to the occasion several times in a 25-18, 27-25, 25-23 sweep of the Vandals on Saturday morning at the Fiesta Bowl Tournament.
“NAU is a great team,” Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said. “They are very composed and don’t make a lot of errors for the most part. Today our passing struggled. When we did pass well we were able to get our middles involved and they couldn’t stop us. Really it was a game of errors. If you look at game two we had 13 errors and we usually have five or six.”
Idaho hit just .183 in the match while the Lumberjacks hit .259. Alyssa Schultz led the Vandals with 13 kills and no errors on 17 swings to hit .765, and she also added five total blocks. Jessica Hastriter had 13 kills of her own while hitting .333 and had two blocks. Taylor Wilkinson and Ashley Christman each had four kills for Idaho, and Christman had both of Idaho’s service aces. Setter Meredith Coba had 30 assists, six digs, and three blocks in the match, Terra Varney had a team-high eight digs and Jenna Ellis added seven.
NAU held a 42-36 advantage in digs, a 46-32 advantage in assists, and a 47-37 lead in kills. The Vandals did take a slim 8.0-7.0 edge in total blocks in the match but NAU had nine service aces to Idaho’s two.
After dropping the first set, the Vandals had a chance to tie the match going into the break, with set-point at 24-22, but NAU fought the Vandals off and took a stranglehold on the match with a 27-25 win. The third set was close throughout, but after a 19-19 tie, NAU rattled off three straight points to pull ahead 22-19. The Vandals pulled within one at 23-22 but the Lumberjacks were able to complete the sweep with the 25-23 win. Idaho falls to 3-3 with the loss while NAU improves to 5-0. Idaho wraps up the tournament Saturday at 4 p.m. against San Diego State.
“Right now were letting everything get to us, it’s just composure,” Buchanan said. “It’s mental maturity a little bit. When we don’t pass the ball we panic instead of rebound and try to get the next one. Hopefully we’ll step away a little bit and get into a new game with a clean slate.”