| 03.20.2018

A bump in the road


The Vandal volleyball team has hit a bump in the road in conference play losing to Seattle University for their second loss in a row falling to a 3-3 record in WAC play.

The Friday match in Seattle started out rough for the Vandals with 25-12 and 25-21 losses in the first two sets. If the Vandals had played the way they did in the third set to extend the match and a fourth set that went down to the wire, the outcome may have been different. The Vandals led 18-12 in the fourth set before the Red Hawks came back to close out the match with a 13-2 run for a 25-20 clincher to conclude a 3-1 loss for the Idaho. The Vandals had their work cut out for them in an attempt to rally back after losing the first two sets but they couldn’t pull through.

“We played jittery then we started to get into a rhythm in game three,” Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said. “We told them we had nothing to lose so just go after it. We had that lead in game four and it’s just going back to making some of those little errors that we have to nip, we can’t keep letting those things happen.”

Two players, sophomore Katelyn Peterson and redshirt-freshman Ali Forde worked with sophomore setter Meredith Coba to execute on offense. Peterson contributed 12 kills on a .393 hitting percentage while Forde played the best match of her career statistically with 12 kills and a .303 hitting percentage. Coba has racked up two double-doubles in the last two losing efforts with one against New Mexico State and one against Seattle U on Saturday. This time her double-double consisted of more than twice as many assists than in her last match against the Aggies with 35 and an identical digging total with 10 digs Friday night. Big numbers from only a few players just didn’t cut it for the Vandals with the entire team averaging just .209 for the game and .000 in the first set.

“We need to get more than two people hitting high numbers,” Buchanan said. “Right now teams are just releasing on us. As that match went on and we weren’t passing well they were just releasing out and it makes it easy for them.”

The Red Hawks outplayed the Vandals overall in that one key category, finishing with a .309 hitting percentage on the match. The Vandals also trailed significantly in digs with a 63-45 overall advantage for the Red Hawks.

It didn’t help matters that the Vandals have played their last two matches without one of their top defensive players. Freshman defensive specialist Terra Varney hasn’t played since Sept. 28 yet has already accumulated 146 digs on the season averaging 10.4 per match.

With a Friday road loss against Seattle U the Vandals drop down to 10-8 overall, 3-3 in the WAC currently tied for fifth place. The Vandals are looking to get back to the way they were playing before dropping two road matches in a row with two home matches this week to redeem themselves. The Vandals will host Missouri-Kansas City at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday at Memorial Gym followed by a 7:00 p.m. Saturday match on the home court against Chicago State. Missouri-Kansas City has the same record as Idaho overall but is tied for third in the WAC with Seattle U. Chicago State is sitting in the cellar at 0-6.

Aaron Wolfe can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu

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