A return to Memorial Gym might be just what a road-battered Idaho volleyball team needs. The Vandals hope to rebound at home after two consecutive road losses.
“We just need to find our groove again, keep improving and learn form the past games,” Idaho sophomore Katelyn Peterson said.
After a shutout loss to the New Mexico State Aggies and a failed comeback attempt in Seattle last Friday, the Vandals are tied with Cal State Bakersfield for fifth-place in the WAC. The Vandals are one conference win behind, their Thursday opponent, the third-place Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos. The teams haven’t played each other yet this season but have identical overall records at 10-8.
“We’re not really sure what to expect so far, but we’re ready to see a different type of volleyball,” Peterson said. “It’s always fun to play someone new so we’re just going to go after it.”
The Kangaroos had a similar lack of success against NMSU. The Aggies are undefeated in conference this year after defeating The Kangaroos 3-0. The Kangaroos hit a little bit better then the Vandals did against the Aggies even though it still wasn’t good. The Vandals posted a season low of .067 against NMSU while their Thursday opponents finished with a .143
The Aggies nearly doubled the blocking totals of each of their conference opponents but The Kangaroos didn’t fall behind as much in digs with just seven less compared to a Vandals 12 dig deficit.
One player to watch on the Kangaroos is freshman offensive hitter Taylor Buhrow. Buhrow led the Roos with a career-high eight kills and a .500 hitting percentage against the Aggies. The Roos sophomore libero and defensive specialist Taryn Miller put up big numbers last year to finish No. 86 in the NCAA in digs per set with an average of 4.77. She posted 10 digs against the Aggies, most recently. Miller also led the team in aces with 34 in 2012.
The Vandals will need breakout matches from their starting squad with sophomore setter Meredith Coba in charge of getting the offensive going again this week. Coba has two double-doubles in a row and is coming off a 35-assist performance against Seattle U.
Offensive hitters Peterson and Ali Forde both hit above .300 and led the team with 12 kills each but they couldn’t carry the team as the Vandals hit just .209 overall.
Following a match against Missouri-Kansas City, the Vandals play Chicago State on Saturday. The Cougars are sitting in the cellar of the WAC conference yet to win a conference match at 0-6. Both matches are in
“We worked on a lot of fast-paced long rallies to get us in that competitive spirit again,” Peterson said of practice. “We did a lot of drills competing and getting our energy back because it seems like our energy is kind of slow in the game.”
Aaron Wolfe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org