Willamette Comes Away With a Huge Win Over Whitman

Salem: A fight to the finish was what the Missionaries and Bearcats decided in the 5 game battle that left the #3 ranked Missionaries, 13-7 overall and 8-3 NWC, with a loss and the #4 Bearcats, 14-7 overall and 7-5 NWC, with a win. The win keeps the Bearcats at #4 but no longer tied with George Fox who went down in 4 games to the Pioneers this evening.

The night started out in favor of the Missionaries. With senior middle hitter Jill Huber breaking the all time career kills school record for Whitman (the record was set in 1998 at 1,201). Making the 3rd and 8th point for the Missionaries, Huber, who walked in with 1,200 kills made her 1,202nd kill. At the end of the night Huber made 21 kills, second only to Denise Kirstein, who made 23 kills overall. Whitman took the first game 30-21.

The second game brought the Bearcats into contention. With a strong push by junior Kristin Halleck, sophomore Angie Sammons and senior Jenni Linden, making 4 kills apiece and junior Lauren Thompson with 3 kills, the Bearcats played with intensity. Keeping the Missionaries to 25, the teams were tied 1 game apiece.

Game three saw much of the same team effort from the Bearcats. Kristin Halleck had 5 kills and helped propel the Bearcats past the very strong Jill Huber who powered balls past the Bearcats. Huber's efforts wouldn't be enough to bring the Missionaries over the Bearcats. Willamette took the game three 30-26.

It was game four that saw a break in the armor that Willamette had worn for the previous two games. Jill Huber made the first kill and went on, along with Lyndsay Buckingham, to bring the Missionaries to a 30-26 win.

The fifth and final game was a shoot off. The Missionaries gained a point due to a service error. Both teams traded off points until the Bearcats took an 8-5 lead. The Missionaries came back to take over the lead at 10-13. The game came down to a tie at 14-14 after an attack error by Jill Huber, blocked by Jenni Linden, who had 4 solo blocks on the night. Jenni Linden and Angie Sammons brought the Bearcats up to 15-14, but a kill by Denise Kirstein tied the game up at 15-15. Jenni Linden would make the final kill and the Bearcats would win after an attack error by the Missionaries.

Final score: 21-30, 30-25, 30-26, 26-30, 17-15.

Willamette faces off against Whitworth tomorrow at 1pm in Salem.