|Vandals fall to NMSU|
MOSCOW, Idaho - Playing in its first home match since Oct. 21, the Idaho volleyball team sputtered against New Mexico State Thursday night, falling to the Aggies 3-1 in Memorial Gym.
Idaho took game one 25-20, but fell 25-23, 25-20 and 25-21 in the next three games to drop the match.
With the loss, the Vandals fall to 12-12 on the season and 7-6 in the Western Athletic Conference. New Mexico State locked up the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the WAC tournament with the win, as the Aggies improve to 12-2 in the WAC and 18-10 overall.
"We didn't pass well tonight," Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said. "I felt like we were really up and down tonight. To beat a good team you have to do some things at a high level, and I don't think we really stepped up tonight to do that."
The Vandals fell victim to eight service aces from NMSU, with two from Kayleigh Giddens and one each from six other players. The Aggies held a slight advantage offensively, hitting .197 to Idaho's .195. NMSU owned a 12.0-11.5 advantage in total blocks, and the Vandals out-dug the Aggies 59-51 in the match.
Allison Walker, the WAC's reigning Player of the Week, notched her second-straight double-double, as she finished the match with a team-high 17 kills and 12 digs. Kelsey Taylor had nine kills and eight blocks in the match, Alicia Milo finished with 13 kills and six digs, and Jenny Feicht had 43 assists and seven digs. Cassie Hamilton led the Vandals with 20 digs.
Leading 1-0 after game one, the Vandals held an 18-10 advantage in game two before New Mexico State stormed back. The Aggies would eventually take the lead at 23-22 on their way to the 25-23 win.
"We knew they were really good on the outside," Buchanan said. "The bottom line is we have to take care of things on our side of the net, and we didn't do that to our ability."
With three matches to play on the season, the third-place Vandals need just one win to clinch a spot in the six-team WAC tournament. Idaho hosts Louisiana Tech on Nov. 13 and Fresno State on 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.
"I think we're still in position," Buchanan said. "We're on track, we're doing the right things. We've got to take care of the rest of our home matches."