Five-setter goes Vandals’ way
Texas State took the match to its limit in its first WAC contest against Idaho Thursday night, but it was the Vandals who emerged victorious, downing the Bobcats in five sets.
The Vandals (5-10, 3-2 WAC) came into the match fresh off a sweep of Utah State and kept the momentum going against Texas State (6-9, 1-3 WAC). Idaho gave up an early 2-0 lead, but was able to outlast the Bobcats and pull out the final three.
Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said she likes the way her team is progressing, especially recently.
“I think we’re starting to see a level of enthusiasm and energy and motivation, a higher level of play, where it looks like we have a bit of a personality about us,” Buchanan said. “We didn’t have that at the beginning of the year.”
The Vandals will be back at home on Saturday night when they face another WAC newcomer in Texas-San Antonio. The Roadrunners, who were picked to finish third in the conference have looked solid so far. They’re led by junior McKenzie Adams, who is the reigning WAC Player of the Week, the second time she’s received the award this year. She leads the conference in kills with 4.91-per-set.
The Vandals came out of the gates strong in the first set, going on a 14-0 run to take a commanding 19-7 lead and finish the set 25-14.
Idaho senior Julia Church said starting strong is something the team has been working on.
“It felt amazing,” Church said. “We changed our pre-game routine to get us more fired up when the match began. I think it’s been effective.”
Idaho was just as solid in the next set, again utilizing an early run to gain a big lead that they’d never relinquish. The Bobcats came out hard in the third and hung on to a small lead down the stretch to win the set 23-25, taking that momentum into the fourth to win 25-21, and send it into a fifth set.
Idaho’s 6-0 run built a lead in the fifth and that advantage proved to be enough in the end to win the set 15-8.
Church said the team has to prevent giving up runs like they did in the third and fourth sets.
“Anytime we give up a run of three, the coaches have noticed we tend to get down,” Church said. “We have to find a better way to get out of that run of three.”
The Vandals continued involve everyone offensively and four different players tallied more than 10 kills. Allison (Walker) Baker led the Vandals with 19 kills. Idaho, as a team, has hit over .300 in two straight matches.
“I think we’re doing some great things,” Buchanan said. “We just have to keep making sure we don’t get down. We got down pretty quick in game three. We just have to make sure we don’t get down and keep playing.”
Kevin Bingaman can be reached at email@example.com