Idaho State University Sports Information
POCATELLO, Idaho – The Idaho State volleyball team won its fifth straight match Saturday evening with a five-set win over visiting Weber State. The Bengals outlasted the Wildcats 11-25, 25-15, 21-25, 25-19 and 15-11.
Idaho State (8-13, 5-3 BSC) was led by junior outside hitter Abby Garrity with 20 kills and 14 digs while senior outside hitter Chloe Hirst also finished with a double-double with 12 kills and 14 digs. Freshman middle blocker Taylor Meeks added eight skills and 10 block assists, while sophomore Haylie Keck added 18 digs. As a team, the Bengals finished with a season-high 18.0 total blocks, a key factor in the win.
“I’m really proud of the team and the effort,” Head Coach Rick Reynolds said. “I thought we came out really flat to start the match. Our rhythm offensively was nowhere to be found. I’m proud of the team in the second set.”
The first set was littered with errors and the Bengals struggled to find any sort of rhythm offensively. Weber State (4-16, 2-6 BSC) took advantage, hitting .450 for 11 kills to go along with 4.0 total blocks. The Wildcats raced out to a 9-1 lead and never looked back, cruising to the 25-11 first set win.
The momentum shifted in the second set, and what seemed like a brand-new Bengal squad took the court. Idaho State dominated WSU, hitting .353 for 15 kills and 7.0 total blocks. ISU scored three unanswered to start the set and extended its lead to as many as 10, tying the set 1-1 with the 25-15 second set win.
“We had 15 kills [in the second set], which is above our average, hitting .353,” Reynolds said. “But I thought out blocking was what really changed the match. I thought getting those seven blocks in the second set really changed the dynamic of the match. But, I felt that in set three, we really didn’t take advantage of that.”
The Bengals were still effective at the net, recording 4.0 total blocks in the third set, but they were not able to capitalize on the momentum as they had in the second set. Weber State’s ability to serve tough also had an effect on the Bengals as ISU recorded five serve-receive errors. Late in the set, ISU recorded back-to-back blocks followed by a kill from Hirst to cut WSU’s lead to one, 19-18, but the Wildcats called a timeout to stop ISU’s run and regroup. Coming out of the timeout, the Wildcats took over, outscoring the Bengals 6-3 to close the set and claim the 25-21 win.
“I thought there were opportunities in set three for us to really gain control,” Reynolds said. “Hats off to Weber for serving tough and really getting us out of system.”
ISU responded in the fourth with a commanding 25-19 win, hitting .217 for 16 kills to go along with 21 digs and 4.0 blocks. Both Hirst and Meeks recorded four kills in the set, while Garrity added three kills and four digs. The Bengals never trailed in the set and finished for the 25-19 win to force a fifth set.
In the fifth set, WSU claimed the early lead following a rare service error from Keck, but a quick kill from Garrity tied the set, the first of five in the set. The first half of the set featured this back-and-forth play, with neither team leading by more than two points. But three WSU errors coupled with a service ace from junior Alexis Patten gave ISU a three-point lead, 9-6, and forced a WSU timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, the Wildcats outscored the Bengals 4-1 to force the fifth and final tie at 10-all. Idaho State responded, and rattled off three unanswered points to take a 13-10 lead. An ISU service error ended the Bengals’ run, but ISU ended the set with two-straight kills from sophomore middle blocker Brooke Pehrson to win the set 15-11 and seal the 3-2 match win.
Weber State was led by Amanda Varley with 19 kills and 15 digs, while Ashlyn Power finished with 43 assists.
Idaho State continues Big Sky play on the road with matches at North Dakota and Northern Colorado. The Bengals face UND Thursday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. MST, followed by UNC Saturday, Oct. 21 at 6 p.m.