Idaho rallies past UTSA in five sets in WAC Tournament semifinal
SAN ANTONIO — Allison Baker posted a match-high 29 kills and No. 2 Idaho staved off three match points in the fifth set to upend third-seeded UTSA by scores of 16-25, 25-18, 21-25, 25-20 and 16-14 in the first semifinal of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament on Tuesday at the Convocation Center.
The Roadrunners (21-9), who saw their eight-match winning streak come to an end, were unable to hang on to a five-point advantage in the final set.
The Birds led 11-6 before the Vandals (17-13) called a timeout to regroup. Following the break in action, Idaho used an 8-3 run to pull even. The Vandals then capitalized on a UTSA attack error to take a one-point lead and Baker recorded the final point with a kill.
Junior McKenzie Adams paced the Roadrunners, who hit only .138 in the contest, with her team-leading 21st double-double of the season. The Schertz native collected 22 digs to go along with her 17 winners, while senior Whitney Walls posted 13 kills and freshman Annie Kunes logged a match-high 28 digs.
In addition to her 29 kills, Baker collected 19 stops to pace Idaho. Jenny Feicht and Janelle Chow also registered double-doubles to help the Vandals' cause. Feicht handed out 28 assists and collected a team-high 24 digs, while Chow netted 22 stops and 11 helpers.
The Roadrunners won the opening set, but Idaho tied the match with a seven-point victory in the second. In the first two stanzas, each team won a frame after holding the other to a .000 hitting percentage.
UTSA gained the advantage after intermission by overcoming a late two-point deficit to earn a four-point win.
However, the Vandals raced out to a 5-1 lead in the fourth panel and they made it hold up after limiting the Birds to a .147 clip.
The dramatic final set was tied at four before the Roadrunners used a 7-2 run to take command. Idaho responded by winning 10 of the final 13 points, five of which came from kills by Baker.
The Vandals will meet fourth-seeded New Mexico State (21-10), which swept regular season champion Utah State later in the night, in Wednesday's championship match. First serve is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the match will be televised on ESPNU.