|Vandals bust slump with sweep|
MOSCOW, Idaho – The Idaho volleyball team didn’t look like a group that was coming off back-to-back losses on Thursday night as the Vandals swept Kansas City by scores of 25-19, 25-23 and 25-17 in Memorial Gym.
After Western Athletic Conference losses at New Mexico State and Seattle U, Idaho (11-8, 4-3 WAC) found itself tied for fifth place in the league standings entering the week, but the Vandals had a different vibe during Thursday’s sweep.
“Before this game we got together and evaluated what are goals are and how we want to get that done, and that really helped us, especially coming off some of the things that we were going through,” sophomore Meredith Coba said. “It was good, it worked and we’re awesome teammates so that was fun.”
Coba finished the match with 39 assists, the second-most in a three-set match for her this season, and had two of Idaho’s four service aces.
“I just had an on night,” she said. “I’ve been working on my serve a little bit more in practice and I tried some new things and that really worked out for me.”
Junior Jessica Hastriter had 18 kills and six digs while hitting .429, and senior Taylor Wilkinson had eight kills, one shy of her season-high, and three blocks as she hit .533. Senior Ashley Christman had 10 kills and a team-high five blocks for Idaho and hit .348 in the match.
Sophomore Jenna Ellis was two digs shy of her career-high, finishing with 26, and freshman Terra Varney added 11 in her first action since suffering a concussion on Sept. 26.
“We have just been trying to get back into a rhythm,” Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said after the match. “We didn’t have Varney for the past two weeks and she makes a huge difference in our team from a passing and defensive standpoint. We’re playing at home, that should be a good time for us, we play well here.”
Katelyn Peterson and Alyssa Schultz each added five kills, and Peterson added 12 digs, one shy of her career high, while Schultz tacked on three blocks.
“We passed well enough to spread the offense and that was one of our goals tonight,” Buchanan said. “That can be the difference in our matches if we can isolate. The more we can get kids on a roll it’s going to help us out.”
Idaho hit .336 in the match while holding Kansas City (10-9, 4-3 WAC) to .176. The Vandals out-blocked the Kangaroos 6-4 and owned a 62-54 advantage in digs. Idaho’s four aces were one more than Kansas City served up, but the Vandals also committed seven errors from the service line.
“We tried to work on a few different things this last week and we’re trying to get a little more spunk and I thought tonight, through the whole day, they’ve had it, they’re excited,” Buchanan said. “We’ve got to take this kind of thing – we played as a team, we competed – we’ve got to take this on the road next time. We can only keep going up from here.”
Idaho will host Chicago State on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Gym before hitting the road again to face Utah Valley and Bakersfield next week.