Aggie Volleyball Rallies For 3-1 Victory Over Idaho In Moscow

Rocio GutierrezThe Aggie volleyball team overcame a first set loss and an eight point deficit in the second set to win their match over Idaho 3-1 on Thursday night in Moscow, ID. The Aggies also clinched first round bye in the upcoming WAC tournament with the victory as they have assured themselves of no worse than a second place finish in the regular season. The Aggies lost the first set 25-20, rallied from down 21-15 to win the second set 25-23 and rode big leads in the third and fourth sets to 25-21 and 25-20 set victories.

The Aggies got a career-high 17 kills from Rocio Gutierrez on 41 swings with just five hitting errors. Gutierrez also recorded three block assists and a solo block and finished just two digs shy of a double-double. "Rocio Gutierrez was fantastic, for her to do what she did was really good," said head coach Mike Jordan after the match. "She passed the ball real well and served it great. She did a good job and put a lot of pressure on their outside hitters."

The Aggies also got 19 kills from Kayleigh Giddens who now needs just 12 kills to become the all-time single-season kills leader and the first Aggie to record 500 kills. Giddens had a team-high 17 digs and recorded her 12th double-double of the season. Fellow senior Whitney Woods added 12 kills, seven digs and four block assists.

The Aggies led the first set 18-16 after the Aggies and Vandals had battled closely through the early part of the set. However, the Vandals would go on a 5-0 run to take a 21-18 lead in the set. The Aggies would cut the deficit to two points at 21-19 but the Vandals would score four of the final five points to take the set 25-20.

The Aggies fell behind quickly in the second set trailing 7-2 before a 5-2 run cut the Vandals' lead to just two at 9-7. However, the Aggies would suffer a scoring drought allowing the Vandals to take a commanding 18-10 lead. The Aggies cut into the lead and trailed by just four at 19-15 but the Vandals would push their lead to six points at 22-16. The Aggies would get back-to-back kills from Kayleigh Giddens to cut the Vandals' lead to 22-18 and then back-to-back Aggie blocks including a solo block from Kayleigh Giddens and a double block by Desiree Scott and Jennah DeVries cut the deficit to just two points at 22-20. The Aggies would continue their run and would take the lead at 23-22 after a service ace by Kelsey Brennan, a kill by Kayleigh Giddens and a set error by Idaho's Cassie Hamilton. After the Vandals tied the set at 23-23 and attack error by Alicia Milo would give the Aggies set point which they would convert on a kill by Kayleigh Giddens giving the Aggies the 25-23 come-from-behind set victory.

The Aggies used the momentum from the second set to jump out to a 19-10 lead in the third set. The Vandals would get as close as four points at 22-18 but the Aggies would close out the set 25-20 on a kill by Whitney Woods.

The Aggies would again jump out to a big lead in the fourth set as they led 17-9 after a kill by Whitney Woods. Idaho would cut the Aggies' lead to just three points at 17-14 but back-to-back kills by Whitney Woods and Rocio Gutierrez would give the Aggies a five point cushion at 19-14. Idaho would cut the Aggies' lead to just one point at 21-20 and again at 22-21 but after a Kill by Kayleigh Giddens, Alicia Milo would commit an attack error to give the Aggies match point which they would convert by getting a double-block by Michelle Kuester and Rocio Gutierrez on Ashley Christman.

The Aggies finished the match hitting .197. The Vandals would hit .195 on the match but the Aggies' defense forced the Vandals to head a progressively lower percentage in each set.

The Aggies outblocked Idaho 12.0-11.5 with Desiree scott leading the way with five block assists. Kayleigh Giddens and Rocio Gutierrez each recorded a solo block. Kelsey Taylor led the Vandals with eight block assists.

Allison Walker finished with 17 kills for the Vandals and Alicia Milo added 13 kills. Julia Church finished with a match-high .400 hitting percentage for the Vandals converting seven kills on 15 swings with just one attack error.

The Vandals outdug the Aggies 59-51 with Cassie Hamilton recording 20 digs and Allison Walker added 12 digs for Idaho. Kayleigh Giddens finished with 17 digs while Kelsi Phillips recorded 12.

With the victory the Aggies clinch second place in the WAC and with it a bye into the semifinal round of the WAC tournament which will be held later this month in Las Vegas. The Aggies improve to 12-2 in league play and 18-10 overall. Idaho falls to 12-12 overall and 7-6 in WAC play.

The Aggies return to action on Saturday when they travel to Boise, ID to take on the Broncos. The match is set for a 7:00 p.m. MT first serve.