|Vandals stop Roadrunners|
MOSCOW – The Idaho volleyball team put an exclamation point on the University’s Homecoming Saturday with an energetic 3-1 victory over Bakersfield in front of a crowd of 772 in Memorial Gym on Saturday night.
After falling behind 1-0 in the match with a 25-22 first-set loss, the Vandals took control with 25-14, 25-17 and 25-17 wins to improve to 8-6 overall and 1-1 in the Western Athletic Conference. Bakersfield falls to 8-7 and 1-1 in the WAC.
“Part of it was learning,” Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said of Bakersfield’s first-set win. “Every time you play a new team you learn what they’re doing and it takes you sometimes a couple times around. I thought the girls adjusted well. We played with more intensity than we did the other night and we executed the game better from a passing standpoint to get more people involved. We got better as the match went on and we were able to take them out little by little as the match went on.”
The Vandals out-hit Bakersfield .294-.169 in the match, owned a 9-4 advantage in blocks and a 63-62 edge in digs. Idaho also had four service aces, while giving up two to the Roadrunners.
“We served well tonight,” Buchanan said. “We finally let the kids just go after it and they did a good job. I thought we were getting them out-of-system more than they were in-system.”
Two Vandals tallied double-doubles in the win, as sophomore Meredith Coba finished with 41 assists and 12 digs, and fellow sophomore Katelyn Peterson had 10 kills and 12 digs.
Junior outside hitter Jessica Hastriter had a team-high 12 kills and junior middle blocker Alyssa Schultz added 11 kills with a .381 hitting percentage and six blocks. Senior Ashley Christman also had 11 kills while hitting .375 and senior Taylor Wilkinson added nine kills on a team-best .462 hitting percentage and four blocks. Freshman Terra Varney had a team-high 15 digs in the match while Jenna Ellis added nine and three assists.
“They all did a good job tonight,” Buchanan said of her team’s performance. “If we can get Ashley (Christman) involved it’s always a plus. Our middles did a good job and our outsides were making some nice swings as the match went on.”
The Vandals came out flat and trailed the entire first set, falling behind by as many as six at 15-9 before falling 25-22. Idaho broke a 9-9 tie in the second with a 6-0 run and closed the set on a 16-5 extended run for the 25-14 win. The Vandals never trailed in their fourth set victory and closed out the match-clinching fourth set in style with an 8-2 run giving them the 25-17 win. Idaho is back to .500 in the WAC’s first weekend of action after a disappointing conference-opening five-set loss to Utah Valley on Thursday.
“It’s huge just to show that we can come back, we can compete, we can play at a high level,” Buchanan said of how her team rebounded from Thursday. “This is the type of team that we are. If we would have played like this on Thursday night the outcome would have been different. We just have to trust that and trust the type of team that we are. “
The Vandals wrap up their three-game home stand on Monday when they host Grand Canyon at 7 p.m. in Memorial Gym.