Volleyball advances to second straight Big Sky Championship
PORTLAND, Ore. -- It went the distance (as usual) but Northern Colorado volleyball got past Idaho State 3-2 Friday night at the Stott Center and advanced to Saturday night's 2010 Big Sky Championship match against host Portland State.
Set scores were 22-25, 25-21, 25-23, 20-25, 15-11, marking the fourth straight five-game match between these programs.
The Bears, who won last year's Big Sky Championship, improved to 13-1 all-time against the Bengals with the win.
"I think the key was that we just battled," said Northern Colorado Lyndsey Benson, who moved to within one match victory of 100 for her career. "I really liked our effort and our intensity in game five, where we played with a lot of confidence. I really like how we finished the match.
"We were way to high-error tonight, though. We made too many errors at crucial times to keep Idaho State in the match, but we were composed enough to be able to come through at the end. It was a team-effort win tonight."
After dropping the first game, the Bears steadily gained momentum and saw their hitting percentage rise at the same speed. NC hit just .186 in the opening game but hit .277 in game two and .350 in game three.
Following the same arc, Arnold, who notched just two kills in the first game, tallied 12 over the next two to help the Bears dig out of their hole and go ahead 2-1.
Idaho State sent the match into a fifth and deciding fifth game behind the play of Jennika Wright, who came off the bench to record seven kills on nine swings and a .778 hitting percentage in set four.
After Northern Colorado had gotten to within two, 18-16, Wright accounted for Idaho State's next four points, and the Bengals eventually pushed the match to the tiebreaker.
In that fifth game, back-to-back Northern Colorado attack errors allowed Idaho State to pull within one, 6-5, but the Bengals gave two points right back on errors, and Jill Dawson served up an ace to make it 9-5, and Northern Colorado controlled it from there.
The Bears will meet tomorrow night the host Viks, who advanced with a similarly thrilling 3-2 victory over Montana. Portland State trailed 2-0 at intermission in that match.