|Vandals handle San Jose State|
MOSCOW - To say the Idaho volleyball team delivered a balanced attack against San Jose State on Saturday night may be an understatement. It would be more accurate to say that several Vandal players turned in dominating performances, and the result was a 3-1 Western Athletic Conference victory over the Spartans, Idaho's seventh win in its last eight matches.
Idaho freshman Katelyn Peterson had a career-high in kills, sophomore Alyssa Schultz matched a career-high in blocks, junior Allison (Walker) Baker extended her streak of double-digit kill matches to 37 and tallied her WAC-leading 15th double-double, senior Jenny Feicht had her fourth double-double and senior Alex Sele hit a match-high .500 with 10 kills. Defensively, Janelle Chow came up with 23 digs and had an ace while Jenna Ellis had 16 digs to contribute to Idaho's victory.
The Vandals won 25-17, 26-24, 23-25, 25-7 to improve to 10-11 overall and 8-3 in the WAC, and avenge a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Spartans earlier this season. San Jose State falls to 10-12 and 6-6 in the WAC with the loss.
Peterson's 17-kill performance led all players, and she made just five errors in the match to hit .308. Her previous career-high was 13 kills.
"It's exciting," Peterson said. "It felt like we were all flowing together and the communication was good, so that all helped."
Schultz had 11 kills, nine blocks and two aces while hitting .474. Not only did Baker have her 15th double-double of the season, finishing with 15 kills and 11 digs, she flirted with a triple-double, adding eight blocks in the match, including four solo blocks. Feicht had 45 assists, 12 digs, two blocks, an ace and a kill, while setting Idaho to a .290 hitting percentage in the match. Sele's 10-kill, .500 hitting percentage performance marked the sixth time in WAC play a Vandal player has hit .500 or better with 10 or more kills.
"For us to be able to balance it out obviously made us a lot better tonight," Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said. "Allison was huge with blocking. For her to have eight blocks tonight, that's incredible. She took the flies one-on-one. That's the first time we've been able to block at that level and be able to stop those hitters one-on-one and we were able to stick to our game plan, so it's a good night."
Julia Church added three kills, nine digs, four blocks and four assists for Idaho, while Ashley Christman had two kills on four attempts.
Idaho's 25-7 win in the game-four clincher was its largest margin of victory in a game this season. The Vandals sided-out on all eight of their opportunities in that game, and held the Spartans to a -.139 hitting percentage in the game.
Overall, Idaho out-hit SJSU .290-.089, owned a 14.0-2.0 blocking advantage, a 77-69 edge in digs, and a 4-3 edge in aces. SJSU's .089 hitting percentage was the second-lowest for an Idaho opponent this season.
"The girls played really well, especially to have that energy in the fourth game after they lost one was huge," Buchanan said. "From the service line, the girls went after it. To side-out at 100 percent, that's huge, so we took care of the ball every single time. Overall it was a great performance from us. We hit .290, we out-blocked them, we out-dug them, we out-performed them in every category and that's what you have to do if you're going to win a match."
The Vandals have a tough road trip looming, Idaho will visit UTSA on Oct. 25, Texas State on Oct. 27 and Denver on Oct. 29, playing in three cities in a five-day span against teams who sit just behind the Vandals in the WAC standings, as all three enter next week with 6-5 conference records.