LEWISTON, Idaho – After Friday night’s gut-wrenching five-set loss to Carroll, Lewis-Clark State volleyball coach LaToya Harris saw a team that needed a break.
The Warriors had played four consecutive matches that went the distance, and fatigue was setting in, heading into Saturday afternoon’s matchup with Montana State-Northern.
“We gave them a little bit of a break today,” Harris said. “We didn’t do much of a warm-up before the match and we just focused on our side, on our strengths. We needed some rest.”
The Warriors responded in a big way, looking crisp and rejuvenated in a three-set sweep of the visiting Skylights at the Activity Center.
LCSC controlled each of the three sets, and kept place with Carroll atop the Frontier Conference standings. The Saints play at Montana Tech later Saturday evening.
The Warriors improved to 10-7 overall and 7-2 in conference play with the 25-21, 25-15, 25-22 victory.
“I thought this was the first time all season that we really attacked a team,” Harris said. “We attacked and attacked. I think our core group took a step forward today.”
Niurka Toribio led the Warriors with 11 kills and turned in an impressive performance from the service line in the third set, registering six aces in seven serves in helping LC jump out to a 17-4 lead.
The Skylights, who defeated Lewis-Clark State in five sets at home on Sept. 28, didn’t go quietly.
Led by Abby Nicholas, MSU-Northern went on a 14-2 run to get within three points at 19-16. Nicholas, a junior right side hitter, had five of her eight kills and three of her five blocks in the third set.
“I wasn’t really nervous,” Harris said of Northern’s late rally. “We were trying to get some other people on the court and relaxing a little too much. They capitalized on that.”
Treneisha Doyle had nine kills on Saturday for the Warriors despite hitting just .033. Brianne Brown chipped in eight kills, Keisha Luebbert-Kennedy added seven and Nevena Dragovic tacked on five to go along with 33 assists.
But the biggest difference between the Warrior team that took the court Saturday from the night before was mental.
“We realized that we just needed to flush out everything that happened last night and go forward,” senior libero Kaylee Rector said. “It was still rough at times, but it was better. It all depends on our attitudes and responding to what we do in practice. Hopefully this game will help us for the rest of the season.”
The Warriors are back on the court Monday with a non-league match against Walla Walla University at 7 p.m. at the Activity Center.