- Idaho def. Montana State 3-0, (25-19, 25-14, 25-12)
- Idaho advances to 6-6 (1-0 Big Sky), while Montana State falls to 4-6 I0-1 Big Sky)
- Moscow, Idaho
- Match Stats
Courtesy of Idaho Athletics
Idaho volleyball opened the Big Sky Conference season with a convincing sweep of the Montana State Bobcats on Thursday. The Vandals, playing at home for the first time this season, did not disappoint. Kaela Straw and Reece Carman led the offense, while the defensive front continued its strong play.
“This was a great start to our [Big Sky] season,” Carman noted. “I think it proves we are a team to lookout for. People are going to want to fight against us. That is going to put a fire in us to want to keep going and pushing and kill it this season.”
Idaho (6-6, 1-0 BSC) entered the night ranked 26th in the NCAA in blocks. The Vandals continued to have a strong presence at the net with 10 team blocks. The Vandals have had 10 or more blocks the past three matches, giving them six total. Junior Haylee Mathis helped out big from the setter position, leading the team with six total blocks. DeVonne Ryter and Torrin Crawford each finished with five.
“Our goal was to see how good we could get defensively,” head coach Debbie Buchanan explained after the win. “We have to make that an emphasis. Our eye-work is really getting a lot better. The back row is starting to pick more balls up. We are not getting as many digs because we are getting the blocks and creating a lot of errors.”
The Vandals asserted themselves early on in the first set. A 7-0 run, fueled by three consecutive blocks, put the team up 9-5. A Sarah Sharp kill added to the lead, putting Idaho in front by eight, 17-9. Montana State would use a late 7-2 push to get back to within striking distance at 23-19. Two consecutive MSU errors closed the set for Idaho, 25-19.
The Vandals never trailed after the first set, silencing Montana State in the final two sets.
Junior Alycia Wodke got Idaho going early in the second, serving the opening points of Idaho’s 7-2 start. The Bobcats fought back with a 3-0 push, closing the gap to 11-9. Idaho scored a kill from Ryter just a few points later, triggering a 4-0 Vandal run. Carman helped close out the frame with three late kills over a 6-0 run to take the set, 25-14.
Two aces from Delaney Hopen started a 6-0 run, giving the Vandals a 14-6 lead in the third set. Hopen scored a kill later on in a 4-0 run that put the Silver and Gold up 10, 18-8. Kills from Straw and Sharp helped clinch the match down the stretch, 25-12.
“Everybody is contributing,” Buchanan added. “That is the great thing right now. I think that is why our team is fun to watch. Hopefully, people come out because it is not just one go-to player right now. We have multiple girls—and girls on the bench that want to get in, waiting for their time. As a coach, it is a lot of fun to see where we are at.”
Straw led the match with 12 kills and a .500 attacking percentage. Carman was the only other player to record double-figure kills. She fired 10 on the night to go with her two blocks. Wodke posted a match-high with 11 digs, while Mathis led the match with 28 assists.
Idaho outhit Montana State, .367 percent to .029 percent. Montana State hit into 25 attack errors compared to Idaho’s six.
The Vandals are back in action from Memorial Gym on Saturday. Idaho will host Montana. The Lady Griz fell in four sets at Eastern Washington on Thursday.