by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Portland State's Jaklyn Wheeler gets in position for a dig during the Vikings' three-set loss to Idaho State on Saturday night. Idaho State ramped up the pressure with a quick start, and Portland State’s volleyball team failed to respond in crunch time during a three-set loss to the Bengals in the Big Sky

Conference championship match Saturday night at Stott Center.

No, 1 seed PSU (21-11) got outhit by No. 3 ISU .306-.213 as the Bengals won 25-18, 29-27 and 25-20.

The Bengals (23-11) earned the Big Sky’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. The bracket will be revealed on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Idaho State gained the upper hand early with a dominating effort in the opening set.

The Bengals showed up ready to play, as Makenzie Filer came up with a block in the middle that prompted the Vikings to call an early timeout. Tressa Lyman also came up with an ace and a thundering kill to put Idaho State up 15-7 at the end of the first rotation.

It wouldn’t get much closer.

The Bengals carried an 18-12 lead into the late stages, when libero Kylee Sessions sent a quick-set into the back corner to win the point.

“We knew we had to come out strong and get them down,” Sessions said. “We were able to bounce back when we had mistakes, and we didn’t let down.”

Lyman planted a kill on the sideline, and Sommer Reader blasted a ball off a PSU block to claim the set 25-18.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Portland State's Aubrey Mitchell tries to get her team fired up during the opening set of Saturday's Big Sky final.

The second set was the wildest of the night. PSU carried a slim lead most of the way. Kaeli Patton’s kill off a block put the Vikings up 10-8, and PSU maintained its edge on an ace by Shelbi Miyashiro when a pair of Bengals stepped away from a ball in the back row.

The Vikings found themselves with a 19-16 lead after Cheyenne Corrado planted a kill from beyond the 10-foot line, and a kill by Jaklyn Wheeler gave PSU a pair of set points.

Idaho State fought them both off on kills out of the middle by the 6-foot-4 Filer. The Bengals put PSU on the cliff moments later, putting up three set points of their own before winning the set 29-27 when a Vikings attack sailed long.

“PSU always seems like they’re in the championship match, and they have some very good athletes,” Idaho State coach Chad Teichert said. “We knew we were going to have to come out and continue to play.”

Idaho State did just that in a final set that featured four lead changes.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Portland State middle blocker Leigh-Ann Haataja goes up for a swing.

The Bengals moved ahead for good 14-13 on a dump shot by Lori Mendenhall-Lee, and Hayley Farrer gave the team some breathing room with an ace that clipped the arms of PSU’s libero and went out of play.

The Vikings doomed any chances of a comeback by sending two serves into the net and another long. PSU suffered 10 service errors in the match.

Idaho State finished it off with an ace by Sessions, followed by a blast down the line from Alydia Fields-Grimm for a 25-20 win.

Fields-Grimm led the attack with 13 kills, while Aubrey Mitchell and Patton shared the load for PSU with 11 kills apiece.

View an online photo gallery from the match at ...

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