If overall record had playoff implications, the Vandals would be in first place right now. But Idaho’s 3-2 record against conference opponents this season ties the Vandals with their next opponent, Seattle University, for fourth place in the WAC.
If a 0-3 loss against first place New Mexico State last weekend wasn’t a wake up call to how competition will look moving forward, the Vandals will have a tough time against Seattle U on the road Friday. Moving ahead of Seattle U might be the momentum shift that the Vandals need before returning home to host Missouri-Kansas City and Chicago State.
“It’s really important for us to bounce back and just get back into the flow of things. Losing to New Mexico State like that wasn’t fun and I think we all felt that as a team — but we got to go out strong against Seattle U,” sophomore setter Meredith Coba said. “We have 10 games left in the season and its time to make a push for it.”
The Vandals are coming off their worst offensive performance so far with a season low .067 hitting percentage against the Aggies. Three consecutive conference wins before that doesn’t make the loss appear to be too much of a setback for the team.
“I think we got to understand as a team what we’re working for and reevaluate how we’re going to get there,” Coba said. “Get to the point where we do want to be WAC champs and we’ve got to remember that everyday in practice and in every game that we play.”
The Vandals defeated Cal-State Bakersfield and Grand Canyon at Memorial Gym on Sept. 28 and Sept. 30 respectively. But in order to win the conference, the Vandals will need to play the same way on the road.
“Obviously we all enjoy playing at home in front of our home crowd, it’s easier for us. But either way, we’re competing for the same thing and that’s to get a win and we do what we can,” Coba said.
Statistically speaking, the most recent match revealed some defensive shortcomings for the Vandals. The Aggies beat the Vandals in digs 63-51 and blocks 11-6. Middle blocker Alyssa Schultz named other improvement goals for the trip to Seattle, Wash.
“We’re working a lot on our passing and serving. We need to get back behind the line and serve harder,” Schultz said. “Passing, we just need to keep it up to the setter so we can run our offense and pick and choose who we want to set and not be forced to set a certain person. If we can do that we can beat any team in the WAC.”
Aaron Wolfe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org