|Idaho outlasts Nevada in five|
RENO, Nev. – It was a hard fought match, and in the end, the Idaho volleyball team got its first five-set win in conference play, as the Vandals beat Nevada in a marathon match by a score of 23-25; 25-23; 35-37; 25-22; 15-8 in Reno, Nev. The match saw 238 total points.
The win lifts Idaho to 11-11 overall and 6-5 in the Western Athletic Conference, while Nevada drops to 13-12, and 7-5 in WAC play. The Vandals completed the season sweep of Nevada, after beating the Wolf Pack in Moscow earlier this season.
The win also helps Idaho’s bid for a berth into the WAC tournament, as the Vandals entered the match in fourth place in the WAC standings, a game and a half behind Nevada and a half game ahead of Utah State. The Vandals travel to Logan, Utah to face Utah State on Saturday. The top six teams in the final WAC standings advance to the tournament.
“It’s huge for us being in that middle spot with teams right behind us,” Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said. “We have to secure a spot in the WAC tournament.”
The Vandals often found themselves in deep holes early in the first three games, trailing 16-7 before pushing the Wolf Pack to the limit in the first set. Idaho fell behind 5-1 to open the second set before battling back to claim a 25-23 win of its own and tie the match 1-1.
“If there is one thing we did during the match it’s that we gave up those huge runs,” Buchanan said. “Those were the longest streaks of points we’ve given up maybe all season. The crazy thing with this match is we would give up a run of seven, then we would turn around and get a run of six.”
Idaho fell behind again in the third game, trailing 6-0 to start the set. The Vandals battled all the way back and had game point on six occasions, but couldn’t find a way to close the door on the pesky Wolf Pack.
“The third game we were right there, that was a battle,” Buchanan said. “Both teams were siding out. It wasn’t where they were making it easy on us or vice versa. It was a great match, our kids hung in there and fought”
Idaho led of the way throughout the fourth set, and jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the match-clinching fifth set victory.
The last time the Vandals were in a set that saw 72 total points was Oct. 26, 2006, when sets went up to 30 points. The Vandals beat Boise State 37-35 during a four-set Idaho win that night.
Alicia Milo celebrated her birthday Thursday night, and she led the Vandals with 22 kills, eight digs, five aces and three blocks. Allison Walker also had 22 kills for the Vandals, and she added four digs and three blocks. Alex Sele finished with 13 kills and seven blocks for the Vandals. Jenny Feicht notched her 1,000th career assist in the match, as she entered the night with 976 and tallied a career-high 64 assists in the match. Cassie Hamilton notched a career-high 29 digs.
The Vandals had their second-most efficient offensive match during the WAC season, as they hit .257 as a team with a season-high 72 kills and 28 errors on 171 attempts.
The Vandals will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 6 when they visit Utah State. Idaho will host three straight home matches, facing New Mexico State (Nov. 11), Louisiana Tech (No. 13) and Fresno State (Nov.15) before wrapping up the regular season at Hawai`i on Nov. 18. The WAC tournament is Nov. 22-24 in Las Vegas, Nev.