Pirates Beat Bearcats 3-0 in NWC Volleyball Match

SALEM, OR — The league-leading Whitworth Pirates, behind 12 kills from Natalie Danielson, defeated the Willamette University volleyball team 3-0 in a Northwest Conference match Friday night at the Cone Field House.

The Pirates edged closer to a 20-win season as they won their 14th conference match against one loss to raise their season record to 19-3 overall, 14-1 NWC. But the young Bearcats gave the Pirates a battle before losing 30-25, 30-22, 30-25. The Pirates had already clinched the NWC regular season title before tonight's match.

In game one, the teams traded points as Willamette’s Jessica Durham (14 kills, 11 digs) and Whitworth’s Danielson (12 kills in 29 attempts) each recorded several kills. With the game tied at 13-13, the Pirates went on a 4-0 run highlighted by a pair of kills from Carey Guhkle (11 kills) to take a 17-13 lead.

The Bearcats battled back to within three at 24-21 on a kill from Mary Butler (9 kills, 4 digs) and a Pirate error. But two more Guhkle kills pushed the lead to 27-22 and the Pirates had game one, 30-25.

Whitworth jumped out to leads of 7-0 and 15-4 in game two as they coasted to a comfortable 30-22 win before the break.

Willamette battled back in game three, taking an early 10-6 lead behind three service aces from Jessica Drumm (31 assists, 11 digs) and another Butler kill. But the experienced Pirates battled back to tie the game at 16-16 on a kill by Angie Florence.

The Pirates stretched the lead to 20-17 on a Guhkle kill, then held off the Bearcats until an attack error and Guhkle’s final kill of the night ended game three, 30-25.

NWC digs leader Roni Schneider led the Bearcats with 22 digs. Five different Pirates recorded double digits in digs, led by Rebekah Horner’s 13. Horner also recorded 35 assists to lead Whitworth.

Durham led the Bearcats with 14 kills.

The Bearcats fall to 1-18 overall, 1-14 NWC. They host Whitman Saturday night at 6 p.m.