The Willamette University volleyball team completed an undefeated home conference schedule with a 3-1 win over George Fox University Friday night in a Northwest Conference match at Cone Field House. Scores of the games were 30-27, 30-22, 24-30 and 30-24.

Led by seniors Kristen Halleck, Lauren Thompson, Celia Batlan and Jodi Zaffino, the Bearcats finished 10-1 at home this season, raising their overall record to 17-5, 11-2 in the NWC. They remain in sole possession of second place in the NWC. The Bruins fall to 11-11 on the season and 6-7 in the NWC.

The Bearcats won both games one and two of the match in similar fashion. In both games, George Fox took the early lead before Willamette stormed back.

In game one, a Linzi Stolsig kill put the Bruins up 12-8. Behind a pair of kills from Angie Sammons and the serves of Kristin Kutara, the Bearcats scored five straight points to take a 14-13 lead. Kills from Halleck and Thompson pushed the lead to 21-17. Halleck ended game one with a kill and a 30-27 win.

The Bruins again jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in game two. But again, behind the serves of Kutara, the Bearcats came back to tie at 5-5 on two straight blocks by Julie Christine. With the scored tied at 14-14, the Bearcats reeled off five straight points again, this time featuring a dump by Zaffino and a Sammons kill to go up 19-14.

Thompson and Christine combined for a block to push the lead to 27-22 and a Sammons kill ended it moments later.

Game three belonged to Stolsig. Her kills made it 3-0 early, then 14-9 midway through game three. After a Halleck kill pulled Willamette within 23-20, Stolsig finished off game three with kills to account for three of the last four Bruin points.

In the final game, the Bearcats got off early, building a 10-5 lead on kills by Halleck and Sammons, and three powerful jump serves by Thompson. Thompson added three strong serves as the Bearcats opened up an 18-12 lead.

The Bruins rallied to tie at 20-all on a kill by Karinda Cruse. But Willamette scored three straight on a kill by Sammons and two more blocks by the freshman Christine. Halleck’s kills and block on consecutive plays made it 26-22. The senior All-American finally ended the match with a kill for a 30-24 Bearcat win.

For the match, Sammons led the Bearcats with 24 kills. Halleck had 18 kills and 19 digs. Thompson notched 16 kills on .452 hitting percentage and Christine added 10 kills. Roni Schneider had 25 digs. Zaffino tallied 44 assists while Jessica Drumm had 13 assists in game four action.

For George Fox, Cruse led the team with 23 kills. Stolsig added 17 kills and 25 digs. Gina Coolen had 23 sets and Amy Knight added 24.

Lauren Thompson

Lauren Thompson