Aggies Take Five Set Battle Over Idaho; Solidify Hold On Second Place In The WAC

Kayleigh GiddensA career high 25 kills from Kayleigh Giddens was just enough as the Aggies won a five set thriller 24-26, 25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 15-13 on Senior Night in the Pan Am. After jumping out to an 8-1 lead early and then a 21-16 lead late in the first set, the Aggies squandered two match point opportunities and Idaho stole set one in extra points 26-24.

The Aggies and Vandals traded points early in set two with the Aggies taking a 14-10 lead. The Aggies extended the lead to 20-14 before closing out the set 25-19.

Set three saw a similar set of events unfold as in set two with the teams trading points early with the Aggies holding a 13-10 lead midway through. Idaho would tie the match at 17 all before the Aggies would go on a 7-0 run behind tough serving from Krista Altermatt to go up 24-17. The Aggies closed out the set on a kill by senior opposite hitter Kelli Goodan, her only kill of the night.

Set four saw the Aggies jump out to a quick 5-1 lead and then led 12-7 midway through the set. Idaho would go on a run 12-5 run to lead the set 19-17. After an Aggie timeout, back-to-back points for the Aggies would tie the set at 19. The teams would trade the next six points leaving the set tied at 22 before back to back attack errors by the Aggies gave Idaho set point at 24-22. The Aggies would stave off one set point but then an attack error by Whitney Woods gave Idaho the set 25-23.

The fifth and deciding set saw the Aggies once again jump out to a quick lead, this team leading 9-3. However, a 9-3 run by Idaho would tie the fifth and deciding set at 12. After an attack error by Kayleigh Giddens gave the Vandals a 13-12 lead, kills by Kayleigh Giddens and Erin Birmingham gave the Aggies a 14-13 lead and match point. On match point Kayleigh Giddens knocked down her 25th kill of the night giving the Aggies the big victory.

In addition to Giddens' 25 kills, Whitney Woods added 19 kills for the Aggies and was one dig shy of a double-double, finishing with nine digs. Kelsey Brennan added 13 kills on 25 swings with just four hitting errors finishing the night with a .360 hitting percentage. Senior middle hitter Erin Birmingham finished a stellar night with 10 kills on 20 swings with three hitting errors for a .360 hitting percentage to go along with five digs, two solo blocks, four block assists, an assist and a service ace. Sophomore setter Jennah DeVries recorded 66 assists and had 11 digs for a double-double and sophomore libero Kelsi Phillips recorded a match high 17 digs.

Idaho, the nation's leading blocking team, finished with 17 total team blocks on the night, led by Debbie Pederson with eight block assists and one solo block. Anna McKinney finished with six block assists and two solo blocks for the Vandals. Sarah Conwell led the Vandals with 17 kills but also finished with nine hitting errors.

The victory improves the Aggies record in league play to 11-3 while Idaho drops to 9-4. The Aggies now hold a firm grasp on second place and can secure the 2-seed in the WAC tournament with a victory next week against Fresno State.