Bearcats Win First Game, but Whitman Rallies for Northwest Conference Victory, 3-1

WALLA WALLA, WASH. -- The Willamette University Bearcats roared out to a 30-25 win in the first game, but Whitman College rallied to win the next three games, 30-16, 30-23, 30-24, for a Northwest Conference victory at the Sherwood Center. Whitman raised its record to 8-9 overall, including 4-5 in the NWC. Willamette went to 4-15 overall, 0-9 in the NWC.

Willamette pounded out 19 kills and a .176 hitting percentage in the first game, as the Bearcats led from the opening serve until the end of the game. Mary Butler (So., MB, Robbins, CA/Yuba City HS) led the attack with five kills and just one attacking error on six total attacks (.667 hitting percentage). Julie Stutzman (Fr., OH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) also provided five kills during the game, while Jessica Durham (So., OH, Medford, OR/North Medford HS) added three kills and a .333 hitting percentage. WU earned leads of 7-2, 13-6 and 24-13 on its way to the opening-game win.

The Missionaries limited Butler and Stutzman to just three kills each the rest of the way, as both Willamette players finished with eight kills on the night. Durham added nine kills to her individual total and ended the match with a team-high 12 kills to go with 15 digs and two service aces. Jordyn Smith (Jr., RS, Las Vegas, NV/Green Valley HS) matched Butler and Stutzman with eight kills on the night.

Alona Lyamin (Jr., LIB/DS, Moses Lake, WA/Moses Lake Christian Academy/Big Bend CC) registered 24 digs for the Bearcats. Brittany Ashby (So., S, Federal Way, WA/Decator HS) supplied 42 assists. Stutzman was credited with 13 digs to go with her eight kills.

Whitman received 18 kills from Rosa Brey, who hit .441 and also provided six total blocks. Emily Seider added 15 kills and a .448 hitting percentage. Willamette held the remaining Missionaries in check, as the rest of the Whitman lineup combined for 25 kills, 18 kill errors and a .064 hitting percentage. Leslie Compean provided WC with 11 kills, while Lydia Hayes contributed 17 digs and Kristan Brown earned 56 assists. Whitman hit .203 as a team.

The Bearcats led 3-0 in the second game, but eventually fell behind 14-9 and was unable to mount a comeback. Willamette regain its offensive success in the third game, as the Bearcats achieved 16 kills. The third game included nine ties and four lead changes, with Willamette leading at 17-16 and tying the game at 20-20, before the Missionaries went on a 11-4 run to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

WU also battled with Whitman in the fourth game, forcing eight ties and four lead changes. Willamette held an 18-17 lead following an attack error by Hayes, but Whitman scored the next point on a kill by Brey. The Bearcats never led again, as Brey’s kill started a 7-0 run for the Missionaries, who took a 24-18 lead. WU countered with three straight points, but couldn’t overcome the six-point deficit.

Willamette earned eight service aces with only five serving errors. Whitman managed six aces and had six serving errors, but recorded 8.0 team total blocks and accumulated 86 digs on defense.

The Bearcats will remain on the road to take on Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash., on Saturday, Oct. 15. Match time is scheduled for 5 p.m. (PDT).