Another loss to a team atop the WAC seemed imminent for the Idaho volleyball team after it lost the first two sets against the Utah Valley Wolverines Thursday in Orem, Utah. After losses in two-straight sets, the Vandals turned the match around winning three-straight sets to clinch their first win against Utah Valley.
“We could have folded, that would have been the easy thing to do. Luckily these kids stepped up and started making some things happen,” Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said.
Idaho struggled in the first two sets. In the first set, Idaho had a hitting percentage of -.120 with nine errors to only six kills. The Vandals were outscored in the first set 25-16 allowing the Wolverines an early lead. The second set did not bode much better for the Vandals as they were again outplayed.
Despite losing the second set 19-25, the Vandals did better. Their hitting percentage came out of the negatives as they scored 11 kills to five errors with a hitting percentage of .158.
“We did not play well the first two, we had a lot of errors,” Buchanan said. “I told them there are five games for a reason. The team I know can fight and battle and grow up as a team.”
In the third, and possibly last set of the match, Idaho turned their game around and showed the Wolverines why they traveled to Utah.
Idaho gave up three points in the beginning of the third set before scoring their first point off of a kill by senior Taylor Wilkinson. The third set remained close, as neither team would allow the other to gain an advantage of more than three points until the teams were tied at 18. From there, Idaho went on a four score streak gaining the lead 22-18. Idaho kept the lead in the third set winning 25-23 off of a kill from junior Jessica Hastriter.
Idaho’s victory in the third set led to a fourth set where Idaho took an immediate lead which it held, only giving up the lead for one point in the middle of the set. The victory in the fourth set started with a kill by Wilkinson. Idaho had some help in the beginning of the set as Utah fell down 5-1 on two errors. Idaho allowed Utah to tie up the match at 6-6. The match stayed close with both teams staying within two points of each other until the score was tied at 17-17. Idaho then rallied with an eight-point scoring streak aided by five errors to clinch its second win of the night.
The Vandals again struck first in the fifth and final set of the night. Idaho quickly gained a two point advantage over Utah and held that lead for the win of the fifth set on a service ace from sophomore Samantha Delmer after going on a three-point streak.
For the night, the Vandals had 52 kills and 23 errors for a total hitting percentage of .177. Idaho’s record improves to 13-8 for the season with a conference record of 6-3.
Curtis Ginnetti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org