Groves’ 16 Kills Lead Puget Sound Past Willamette

TACOMA, WASH. -- Junior middle blocker Monica Groves provided 16 kills to lead the University of Puget Sound to a 30-23, 30-23, 30-27 victory over Willamette University, in a Northwest Conference match at Memorial Fieldhouse on Saturday, Nov. 4. Groves made just two attacking errors on 32 total attempts and earned a .438 hitting percentage to carry the load for UPS. Willamette concluded its season at 4-22 overall and 0-16 in the NWC, while the Loggers improved to 16-7, including 11-5 in the NWC.

Willamette was led by sophomore outside hitter Jessica Durham (Medford, OR/North Medford HS), who contributed 11 kills and achieved a team-high 16 digs. Durham had an outstanding weekend for the Bearcats, with 26 kills, 31 digs and three total blocks in two matches. She produced 15 kills and 15 digs against George Fox University on Friday (Nov. 3). She leads the Bearcats with 367 digs this season.

Game #1 was tied 5-5 after 10 rallies, but the Loggers went on a 6-1 run to take an 11-6 lead. UPS eventually led 15-8. The margin remained nearly the same for the remainder of the first game, as the teams matched each other for points.

In the second game, the Loggers surged out to a 10-4 lead. As in the first game, Willamette matched the Loggers during the rest of the game, but couldn’t overcome the early deficit.

The third game started with another opening run by the Loggers, as they took a 10-5 advantage. Willamette rallied, eventually tying the game at 26-26 on a kill by Jordyn Smith (Jr., RS, Las Vegas, NV/Green Valley HS). Following a time-out by UPS, the Bearcats moved in front, 27-26, on a kill by Julie Christine (Jr., MB, Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS).

UPS pulled back into a tie on a kill by Jamie Eggers, then won the next three points to win the match. The final two points were kills supplied by Eggers. WU and UPS combined for five ties and two lead changes during the third game.

Although Durham led WU’s efforts, several other Willamette players made solid contributions. Alona Lyamin (Jr., LIB/DS, Moses Lake, WA/Moses Lake Christian Academy/Big Bend CC) registered 14 digs. Jessica Drumm (Jr., S, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) tacked on 10 digs and earned 30 assists. Kelley Lindstrom (So., OH, Banks, OR/Banks HS) hit six kills and Mary Butler (So., MB, Robbins, CA/Yuba City HS) was credited with five kills.

Groves, with her 16 kills, and Eggers, with 13 kills, led the UPS attack. The Loggers held a 76-55 edge in digs, primarily because Rachel Gross led all players for both teams with 24 digs. Eggers chipped in 15 digs and Jessica McPhee-Hayes earned 10 digs. McPhee-Hayes also supplied 26 assists, while Jamee Fred added 18 assists.

On the Willamette season stats, Julie Stuzman (Fr., OH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) led the Bearcats with 245 kills and 27 serving aces. Drumm led in assists with 772, while Durham’s 367 digs surpassed her teammates’ totals. Butler led in blocking with 20 block solos, 59 block assists and 79 total blocks.