ISU volleyball: Bengals’ season ends in conference tournament quarterfinals

By ISU Sports Information/ Journal Staff

Idaho State’s season ended Thursday after a 3-0 loss to Idaho in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Conference tournament, hosted by Sacramento State. The Bengals fell 25-17, 25-18 and 25-23.

The Bengals (11-19) lost 13 of their first 16 matches of the season and won eight of their next nine before ending the year on a five-match losing streak.

“These seniors have given a lot to this program,” ISU coach Rick Reynolds said. “I am proud of the women they have become and the successes they have achieved on and off the court.”

The Bengals were led Thursday by Chloe Hirst’s 11 kills and nine digs, while junior outside hitter Abby Garrity added 10 kills and six digs. Sophomore libero Haylie Keck finished with 15 digs.

“I’m really proud of the fight our team showed,” Reynolds said. “We were able to create opportunities in the third set, but Idaho finished better. It is important that you serve and serve receive when you’re at this point of the season, and we didn’t find our rhythm today.”

The Bengals were the No. 6 seed in the tournament after going 8-8 in Big Sky games. It was the first time the team did not finish above .500 in conference play since 2011.

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ISU WBB: Bengals blast past C of I 89-32

By Jeff Papworth jpapworth@journalnet.com

POCATELLO – Reed Gym had a carnival-like atmosphere for an early-afternoon game Thursday.

Idaho State put on a show against NAIA program College of Idaho in an 89-32 demolition in front of tireless elementary school students, who created a rip-roaring atmosphere from start to finish on what was designated as the Bengals’ field-trip game.

Idaho State (3-0) continued its hot shooting spree, as the Bengals have made at least 43 percent of their shots and 47 percent of their 3-pointers in each of their first three games. Idaho State went 36 of 63 from the field and 9 of 16 from the 3-point line against the Yotes.

“Out of our top seven, eight, nine players, a lot of them can all shoot the 3,” Bengals coach Seton Sobolewski said. “We’ll see how long it lasts. I think we’ll have our ups and downs, and hopefully we figure out a way to score more than one way, so you just don’t rely on just that.”

ISU guard Brooke Blair kicked off the offensive explosion, nailing two triples to give her team an 8-2 lead with 6 minutes, 18 seconds left in the first quarter to resume her success from Sunday’s game at Washington, when she scored a career-high 30 points in a 79-59 win.

“I’ve just been going out there wanting to have fun and being confident,” said Blair, who had 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting Thursday. “I think that’s the main point, having that confidence in myself and knowing that I can shoot the ball and drive to the hoop.”

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ISU volleyball: Hirst and Garrity take home all-conference honors

By ISU Sports Information

Idaho State senior outside hitter Chloe Hirst and junior outside hitter Abby Garrity were named to the Big Sky All-Conference second team, announced by league officials Thursday.

Hirst, a two-time all-conference selection, finished the season with 348 total kills, 277 digs, 32 assists and 24 total blocks, and ranked second for the Bengals with 3.19 kills per set and 2.54 digs per set. Hirst surpassed 1,000 career kills this season, recording her 1,000th kill at North Dakota on Oct. 19.

Garrity earned all-conference honors for the first time in her career after leading the Bengals and ranking seventh in the Big Sky in kills per set with 3.43. Garrity finished with 374 kills during regular-season play and recorded five 20-kill matches this season.

Garrity was also a force for the Bengals on the defensive side, ranking third on the squad in digs per set with 2.30. This season, she set new career-highs in kills (22), attempts (65) and service aces (3).

Sacramento State, Portland State and North Dakota led the conference with three first-team selections each. Sac State’s Kennedy Kurtz earned Big Sky MVP honors, while Idaho junior libero Alycia Wodke was named newcomer of the year. Tasha Bojanic of Portland State was named libero of the year, Heaven Harris of Northern Arizona was named outstanding freshman of the year, while Sacramento State’s Ruben Volta was named the coach of the Year.

The Bengals’ (11-19) season ended Thursday with a 3-0 loss to Idaho in the conference tournament quarterfinals.

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ISU MBB: Bengals look for improvements at Pac-12’s Washington State

By Madison Guernsey mguernsey@journalnet.com

Idaho State (0-2) is back on the road Saturday to face its second Pac-12 opponent this season in Washington State (2-0). The Bengals lost their home opener Tuesday against Utah Valley, 84-71.

Here are notables from Saturday’s matchup, which is the 10th in the teams’ histories.

LAST TIME OUT

ISU allowed Utah Valley to score 84 points on 52.3 percent shooting, marking the second time in as many games this season the Bengals gave up at least 80 points on 50 percent shooting or better.

Dating back to ISU’s final four games of last season, Bengals opponents have scored 80 or more points in five of six games, while shooting 50 percent or better in four of six.

“Defensively, I think we were horrible,” ISU coach Bill Evans said after Tuesday’s game. “We’ve got to get better defensively.”

The Bengals were held under 80 points for the 28th time since the start of last season, despite shooting 48.3 percent from the floor — including a 60-percent clip in the second half.

Novak Topalovic struggled to finish inside against UVU 7-foot stopper Akolda Manyang, scoring eight points on 4-of-13 shooting. Brandon Boyd scored a career-high 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting, and Geno Luzcando went 5 of 6 for 11 points. ISU scored 40 of its 71 points in the paint (56.3 percent), its highest percentage of points in the paint since Feb. 11 of last season against Sacramento State (63.5 percent).

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ISU football: Impact players, scouting reports and analysis for ISU’s season finale

By Madison Guernsey mguernsey@journalnet.com

Idaho State (4-6, 2-5 Big Sky Conference) plays its season finale Saturday at Weber State (8-2, 6-1 Big Sky). The game caps Rob Phenicie’s first season as the Bengals’ head coach, and is a chance for the Wildcats to win a share of the league championship for the first time since 2008.

Here are notables from the matchup, which is the 56th in the teams’ histories.

SCOUTING WEBER STATE

Impact payer, offense

QB Stefan Cantwell

Cantwell is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the FCS, and is the perfect game manager for Weber State’s run-first offense.

Cantwell ranks 16th in the FCS with a passing efficiency rating of 153.2. He has completed 144 of 233 passes (61.8 percent) for 1,993 yards, 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. Cantwell hasn’t thrown a pick in his last 85 passes, and has accounted for 21 touchdowns between passing, rushing and receiving this season.

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ISU MBB: Turnovers, poor defense lead to 84-71 ISU loss in home opener

By Madison Guernsey mguernsey@journalnet.com

POCATELLO — It took Utah Valley a stretch of 2 minutes, 50 seconds to put the game out of reach.

The Wolverines flipped a back-and-forth contest into a one-sided runaway with a 13-2 spurt in the second half of Tuesday’s 84-71 win at Reed Gym. Idaho State (0-2) was at one point one basket away from taking the lead, but a series of turnovers and subsequent defensive lapses gave UVU (1-2) all the breathing room it needed.

“We would score, and we couldn’t get a stop and vice versa,” Bengals center Novak Topalovic said. “It was a matter of who was going to get on a run and separate.”

Utah Valley’s run started after Brandon Boyd’s layup cut the Bengals’ deficit to 57-54 with 10:55 to play. The Wolverines made six of their next nine shots, grabbed two offensive rebounds and cashed in on three Bengals turnovers over the next 2:50 to build a 72-56 lead. ISU trailed by as much as 19 points and never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way.

UVU pulled down 11 offensive rebounds in the game, owned a 38-22 advantage on the glass and shot 52.3 percent from the floor. The Bengals shot 60 percent in the second half, but committed seven turnovers and allowed Utah Valley to score on 22 of 35 second-half possessions.

“When we turn over the ball and then don’t get stops on the other end, it’s tough to win games,” Boyd said.

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ISU volleyball: Bengals looking forward as Big Sky tourney arrives

By Jeff Papworth jpapworth@journalnet.com

After Idaho State suffered a 3-0 home loss Saturday to Portland State, Bengals coach Rick Reynolds asked his players to text him three things they did well and the team did well.

As the Bengals enter the postseason, time has run out to overhaul glaring weaknesses. Instead, they have to optimize their strengths. Idaho State’s postseason launches at 2:30 p.m. Thursday against Idaho in Sacramento in the first round of the Big Sky Conference tournament.

Asked to pick three of his team’s strengths, Reynolds rattled them off with ease.

“We serve pretty tough. We serve-receive really well. We attack from all three hitter positions at a pretty high level,” Reynolds said. “Our fourth would be we don’t terminate as many blocks at times as we should, but we touch a lot of balls at the net, which we call soft blocks and create a lot of offensive opportunities.”

Three ISU seniors will get their chance to end the year on a high note, including Marissa Dance, who had three of her five highest kill totals in her last three matches as she was given more swings at the ball. Her best match down the stretch may have been her last when she had 10 kills and a .375 attack percentage on senior night.

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Bengals in the NFL: Bucs grind out win to snap 5-game skid

By Journal Staff

Throughout the NFL season, we’ll check in with former Idaho State football players currently in the NFL. Here’s an update after the 10th week of the regular season.

Evan Smith (2004-08) and Dirk Koetter (1977, 79-81)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay snapped a five-game losing streak Sunday with a 15-10 home win against the New York Jets. The Buccaneers never trailed in the game and held the Jets off the scoreboard in their only red-zone trip.

The win brings Dirk Koetter’s record as head coach to 12-13 in one-plus seasons. Former Idaho State lineman Evan Smith played but did not start for the Bucs.

Tampa Bay (3-6) plays Sunday at Miami.

Josh Hill (2009-12)

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