Halleck Hammers Bearcats by Bruins in Well-Fought Match; Bearcats, Linfield Tied For NWC Lead Going into Tonight's Match

NEWBERG, Ore. — Led by Kristin Halleck’s 33 kills, the Willamette University Bearcats used an efficient attack to wear down the George Fox University Bruins 3-2 in a fiercely-contested Northwest Conference women’s volleyball match Friday night at the Wheeler Sports Center’s Miller Gym.

The visiting Bearcats — hitting a crisp .271 for the match to .179 for the Bruins — overcame the home team 28-30, 30-15, 30-25, 28-30, 15-8, improving to 10-5 overall and 4-1 in the conference. The Bruins slipped to 6-7 overall and 2-3 in league play.

In game one, the Bearcats recorded 24 of their 28 points on kills, 11 by Halleck, but the Bruin defense, with Linzi Stolsig making 14 digs, hung on for a two-point victory in a back-and-forth struggle in which neither team had more than a 4-point lead.
The second game was all Willamette, however, as the Bearcats raced out to an early 11-3 lead and never looked back, hitting .362 for the game.

George Fox maintained a slight lead for most of the first half of game three, but after the Bruins took a 17-16 lead on a kill by Elizabeth Anderson, the Bearcats went on a 9-1 run to take control.

In game four, the Bruins had a 9-1 spurt of their own to take a 19-12 lead, and were up 24-17 when Halleck went to work again, posting 6 kills in 9-3 run that cut the George Fox lead to 27-26. Stolsig’s kill on the next point slowed the Willamette rally, and the Bruins closed out the game when Jessica Drum, serving for a Bearcat tie, hit the ball into the net.

George Fox jumped out to a 3-0 lead to start the deciding game, but then faltered on offense, making 8 errors that allowed the Bearcats to recover and take the match.

Halleck had 25 digs to go along with her 33 kills, while Angie Sammons had 23 kills and 15 digs, and Lauren Thompson had 11 of each. Drumm had 65 assists and 13 digs. Celia Batlan with 17 digs and Veronica Schneider with 15 also had solid defensive games. The Bearcats served 9 aces, but also had 16 service errors.

Stolsig had a big night for the Bruins with 23 kills and 31 digs, while Karinda Cruse added 18 kills and Anderson 10. Gina Coolen passed out 60 assists. Haley Stapleton made 17 digs, Coolen 15, and Kelsey Koller 12 as the Bruins totaled 108 digs to 99 for Willamette. Anderson had 4 blocks.

The Bearcats return home Saturday night to host Linfield College at 7:00 p.m. Willamette, Linfield, Whitworth College, and Pacific Lutheran University are all knotted atop the NWC standings with 4-1 league marks after Friday’s results.