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Vandals open volleyball slate with 2 wins

The Spokesman-Review

The University of Idaho, coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004, opened its volleyball season Friday with a pair of wins at the AmeriHost Invitational in Athens, Ohio.

The Vandals swept Tennessee-Martin 3-0 before taking down West Virginia 3-1. Idaho will meet the host Ohio University Bobcats today.

Erin Curtis, who hit .333, and Kati Tikker combined for 21 kills in the opening-match win. The Vandals hit .323 while winning the clinching game 30-20.

Tikker had 23 kills while hitting .373, and Curtis and Haley Larsen combined for 25 kills in the win over West Virginia. Saxony Brown had 50 assists, to give her 86 for the day, and Andrea Fox added 25 digs.

Idaho finished 17-13 last year and lost to Washington in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

•Gonzaga opened its season with two shutout losses at the Oregon Kickoff Classic at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore.

Kelly Russell had 19 kills and a .594 attack percentage as host Oregon swept the Bulldogs to open the day. Sophomore Briawna Mueller had nine kills and Jessica Herrera 11 digs for the Zags.

Minette Ridenour’s 22 kills led South Dakota State to a sweep over GU. Sophomore Becky Jones had 16 kills and 14 digs to guide the Bulldogs, who meet Portland State today at the tournament.

Also at the tournament, the host Ducks’ Russell and Mira Djuric combined for 33 kills to spoil Eastern Washington’s debut, 30-19, 30-26, 29-31, 30-26.

Freshman Addie Webster, making her collegiate debut, had a team-best 15 kills and 10 digs while hitting .235 for the Eagles. Senior Lizzy Mellor (Colfax) added 12 kills for EWU, but the Ducks held the returning first-team, All-Big Sky Conference selection to a .023 percentage.

EWU redshirt freshman Kerri Beck (Gonzaga Prep), also in her first collegiate play, teamed with Brittney Page for six blocks apiece.

The Eagles capped off the third-game win with a kill by Page and an attack error by Oregon.

Oregon scored the final four points to win the fourth game, with Russell serving out the match. Russell also had back-to-back kills to tie the game at 25.

EWU continues play tonight against South Dakota State.

•Sophomore Christal Morrison had 12 kills with a .429 kill percentage, and junior Courtney Thompson added 37 assists and four aces as second-ranked Washington opened its season with a 3-0 sweep of Gardner-Webb (N.C.) University at the Husky Challenge in Seattle.

The Huskies allowed just eight points in the first game, a record for the team since rally scoring began in 2001. Morrison had six kills in the third game, when UW hit .800 and made no errors.

•Whitworth, which finished 19-5 last year, is ranked 24th in the CSTV/AVCA Division III coaches preseason poll.

The Pirates, who return five starters, will open their season Friday at the Washington University Classic in St. Louis.

Men’s soccer

Fidel Angulo scored at 72 and 81 minutes to allow host Walla Walla to tie North Idaho College at 2 in the season-opening Warrior Classic.

Angulo had all six of the Warriors’ shots on goal. His first goal came 8 minutes after Garga Caserta scored off a penalty kick to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.

•Defending Northwest Conference champion Whitworth is ranked 21st in the NSCAA/adidas Division III coaches preseason poll.

The Pirates, with nine starters back from last year’s 16-3-1 team, open next Saturday against University of Redlands at the Linfield College Classic.

Women’s soccer

Sophomore Molly Alexander scored early in the first half and freshman Megan Hyte added an unassisted goal from 15 yards out early in the second half to give Washington State a 2-1 victory over host Idaho State in a non-conference season opener for both at Pocatello.

The scores were collegiate firsts for Alexander and Hyte.

WSU goalkeeper Katie Hultin lost her shutout bid when the Bengals’ Michelle Okumura scored in the 76th minute.

•Sophomore Nanda McCormick’s header goal in the 79th minute gave Gonzaga a 2-1 victory over Utah State in a non-conference opener for both teams at Logan, Utah.

Cristin Leverson’s header goal, off defender Stacey Sarro’s free kick, gave GU the edge at 7:05. The Aggies’ Dana Peart tied the match in the 73rd minute by redirecting a free kick.

•Shelly Ikerd scored three second-half goals during a 7-minute span to complete host Walla Walla’s 5-0 win over North Idaho College in the season-opening Warrior Classic. NIC plays Tacoma today at the tournament.

•Senior All-American Tiffany Weimer scored all three goals as sixth-ranked Penn State defeated Washington 3-2 in both teams’ season opener at the Penn State Classic at Jeffrey Field in University Park.

Sarah Dougherty and Melissa Beal scored for the Huskies, who play Hofstra on Sunday at the tournament. Hofstra dropped a 3-0 decision to ninth-ranked Connecticut in the day’s other match.

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