Disconnect four — Volleyball struggles, drops four straight in California
Junior Allison (Walker) Baker’s seventh straight double-double wasn’t enough to propel the Vandal volleyball team to victory, when Idaho fell 3-1 to Cal State Northridge Monday afternoon.
Baker has had a double-double in every match so far this season and once again led the Vandals with 20 kills, but it wasn’t enough to snap Idaho’s losing streak that now stands at four games. The Vandals will have the opportunity to get back on the winning side of things this week when they travel to the islands for the Verizon Volleyball Challenge in Honolulu.
Part of the reason for the Vandals’ four-match skid is the quality of opponents they’ve faced. All four teams Idaho played on the California road trip were solid programs.
Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said it may be difficult to lose, but playing these teams will help her squad in the end.
“It’s not going to hurt us,” Buchanan said. “Our morale might be a little bit low right now, but we’ve seen where our weaknesses are. We need to get better when we get to conference. We were hoping to get a few wins out of this trip, but we’re close. We’ve just got to get a little better.”
The Vandals fell into an early hole when the Matadors came out strong and took a quick 2-0 lead. The Vandals fought back in the third and forced a fourth set, but the Matadors quickly regained control of the match and put Idaho away 25-20 to win the set and the match.
Buchanan said her team had its moments, but allowed Northridge to seize the momentum and rack up too many unanswered points.
“We had moments of doing really great things,” Buchanan said. “Our defense at times was outstanding. We just gave up too many runs. You just can’t do that.”
Despite suffering four straight losses, Buchanan said she’s still pleased with her team on the road trip. She said she was happy with the mentality her team showed, regardless of what was happening.
“We played some great teams. We definitely had that attitude where we never gave up,” Buchanan said. “We’ll just continue to work on things. We need to be blocking more balls, reducing errors. Those are our biggest things. We get really tight at times and give up a sting of three or four points, so we need to work on that.”
While the team wants to win every match they play, the ultimate goal is still to win the Western Athletic Conference and that’s why the Vandals are playing in the difficult tournaments they are right now.
For now, Buchanan said she wants the team to learn from their mistakes and prepare for the conference schedule that starts later this month.
“We’ll go back and look at film and see how our offense is and what’s clicking the most,” Buchanan said. “We got beat a lot for being out of position.”
Kevin Bingaman can be reached at email@example.com