by Univ. of Idaho Athletics
DENVER, Colo. – In a back-and-forth battle, the Idaho volleyball team came out on the wrong end of a marathon five-setter, falling to Denver 3-2 in Western Athletic Conference play on Monday night.
The Vandals lost 28-26, 22-25, 22-25, 30-28, 17-15 in their 10th five-set match of the season, the most in a season in program history. Idaho falls to 11-13 overall and 9-5 in the WAC with the loss, while Denver improves to 14-10 overall and 7-6 in the WAC. Idaho is 3-7 in five-setters this season.
"This one is on us," Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said. "We just didn't come out playing in our system. It was probably more on the defensive end. We just didn't execute. We had our chances and we made some errors and let some things go. From a team aspect, this was not a very consistent match by any means."
Five Vandal players had 10 or more kills in the match, led by 22 from junior Allison (Walker) Baker. She added 11 digs for her 16th double-double of the season. Senior Julia Church had a season-high 10 kills, one shy of her career-high, and junior Ashley Christman had a career-high 14 kills and added five blocks. Senior Alex Sele had 12 kills and added seven blocks, and sophomore Alyssa Schultz added 10 kills, and also finished with seven blocks.
Senior Jenny Feicht had her fifth double-double of the season with 40 assists and 16 digs. Senior Ryann Carter finished with 25 assists and eight digs. Freshman Katelyn Peterson had six kills and three digs and freshman Jenna Ellis had 13 digs.
Denver out-hit Idaho .215-.204, and had one more ace, six, than Idaho's five. Each team finished with 14.0 total blocks and the Vandals edged the Pioneers in digs, 92-88.
"We were really jumpy, we were out of our defensive positions a lot," Buchanan said. "Then you start trying to bail someone else out, and when that happens you're not doing your job."
Denver needed extra points in all three of its set wins, and the marathon match lasted 2 hours and 32 minutes, just 13 minutes shorter than the longest match in Idaho's history.
The Vandals will return home for their next three matches, hosting Seattle U on Nov. 3, Louisiana Tech on Nov. 8 and UT Arlington on Nov. 10 before the regular season finale at New Mexico State on Nov. 15.
"It will be nice to have two weeks at home," Buchanan said. "We have to take care of things one match at a time. We can either be a really good team or a mediocre team. Tonight we weren't a great team and therefore anyone can beat you."