Idaho State University Sports Information
POCATELLO, Idaho – The Idaho State volleyball team ended its 11-match losing streak Saturday evening with a convincing 3-0 sweep of visiting Southern Utah. The Bengals upended the Thunderbirds 25-21, 25-17 and 25-20 for their first conference win.
“I’m just really proud of the team,” Head Coach Rick Reynolds said. “We talked to them before the game about doing their jobs. We had a guest speaker today as head soccer coach Allison Gibson came in and gave a good pregame speech about doing your jobs and taking risk, and knowing that going safe isn’t going to win you many matches. I thought the girls came out and took the risk. They went for it. It shows in the stats.”
Idaho State (4-13, 1-3 BSC) finished with 40 kills off 118 swings with 17 errors to hit .195 while limiting Southern Utah (5-11, 0-4 BSC) to just 30 kills hitting .077. The Bengals had a balanced offense as seven players recorded kills with five registering five or more. ISU was led by junior outside hitter Abby Garrity and senior outside hitter Chloe Hirst who each at nine kills and seven digs. Senior setter Makayla Lundin finished with a match-high 33 assists while sophomore Haylie Keck finished with a team-high 19 digs.
“That’s the plan every match, to have that level of production,” Reynolds said. “We train that way. We train to have the middles involved in the offense, we train to have the right sides involved in the offense, and tonight we passed at a high enough level to get them involved. But I also thought we dug at a high enough level.”
In the first set, Southern Utah took the first point with a kill from MaCail Evans, but Idaho State quickly took the lead with a kill from Garrity coupled with a SUU error. The T-Birds would tie the set on the following play, but the Bengals once again responded, this time with a big kill from senior Marissa Dance. Idaho State would keep the lead for the remainder of the match, extending its lead to as many as four three times. The Bengals took the first set 25-21.
In the second set, the Bengals hit a match-high .314 as a squad, committing just two hitting errors on 35 attempts for 13 total kills. Garritly led the charge with four kills off nine attempts to hit .444, while Hirst and freshman Taylor Meeks each added three kills. The Bengals never trailed in the set and cruised to the 25-17 win.
The Bengals closed the third and final set with a 25-20 win, but it was not without a fight. Leading 20-10 late in the set, the Thunderbirds went on a 10-2 run to cut ISU’s lead to two, 22-20. But two straight blocks courtesy of Dance and sophomore Brooke Pehrson halted SUU’s comeback attempt and gave the Bengals some breathing room. Garrity delivered the final blow with a service ace to give the Bengals the 25-20 third set win and 3-0 sweep.
“We hit .290 and .333 and those are the levels that we expect every night,” Reynolds said. “That’s the offense that we have available to us. It’s up to us to take care of the ball and make sure that we see that, day in and day out.”
Southern Utah was led by Janet Kalaniuvalu with nine kills while Macky Fifita finished with a match-high 20 digs. Alexis Averett added 17 assists for the Thunderbirds.
Idaho State returns to action Thursday, Oct. 5 against Montana at 7 p.m. in Reed Gym.