Whitman Overcomes Strong Effort By Bearcats

Whitman overcame a scrappy Willamette defense to snap its five-match losing skid Saturday night in Sherwood Center, defeating the Bearcats in four games, 30-24, 25-30, 30-20, 30-26.

The Missionaries evened their season record at 8-8 and improved to 3-5 in Northwest Conference play. Willamette drops to 1-11 overall, 1-7 in conference.

Game one remained close throughout. Two Willamette attack errors gave Whitman a 24-19 lead, but the Bearcats rallied to within two points at 24-22. The Missionaries regained the momentum, scoring the next four points to put the game out of reach.

Whitman came out slow in game two and eventually hit a dismal .056. Willamette took advantage of the struggling Missionary offense, building a 16-9 lead midway through the second game. Whitman pulled to within four at 27-23 but never got any closer.

Whitman jumped to a 4-0 lead in game three, thanks in part to two Rosa Brey kills. After bouncing back to within one point at 12-11, the Bearcats went cold and Whitman reeled off nine of the next 11 points to seize control. Outside hitter Lydia Hayes dominated game three with eight kills, while Brey had five.

Whitman raced away to a commanding 18-9 lead in game four, but the Bearcats rallied. Down 25-17, Willamette scored eight straight points on Kristen Kutara's serve to cut its deficit to just one point. Jessica Durham had three kills in the eight-point swing. Whitman defused the comeback bid, however, finishing off the Bearcats on a Kate Borsato kill.

The Bearcat duo of Durham and McGraw proved unstoppable for most of the night, posting 20 and 19 kills, respectively. Setter Jessica Drumm handed out 57 assists. Defensively Willamette had three players with double figure digs, led by Veroncia Schneider with 21.

Willamette travels to Tacoma next Friday to face Puget Sound.