George Fox Edges Bearcats with 17-15 Win in Game #5

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

NEWBERG, ORE. -- The Willamette University volleyball team won two of the first three games, but host George Fox University rallied to win the Northwest Conference match, 3-2, on Friday, Sept. 28. Both teams were close to victory in the final game, before the Bruins won the match 30-32, 30-17, 27-30, 30-26, 17-15.

GFU improved to 8-5 overall, 3-3 in the NWC. The Bearcats dropped to 2-11 overall, 0-5 in the NWC.

The decisive fifth game began with WU claiming leads of 3-1 and 6-3. Willamette eventually developed a 12-9 edge after consecutive kills -- one each by Julie Stutzman (So., MB, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) and Edyth Lee-Barnes (So., OH/RS, Corvallis, OR/Corvallis HS).

George Fox recorded three straight points to tie the game. WU slipped back in front at 13-12 on a kill by Stutzman, only to have the Bruins gain another tie with a kill by Sarah Crossfield. George Fox took a 14-13 lead on a combined block by Crossfield and Natalie Pickett.

With match-point on the line, Megan Cornelius of GFU was called for a serving error when she tossed the ball into the air, then let it fall to the ground after an official's whistle. The controversial play left the game tied at 14-14. Willamette followed with a serving error, but the Bearcats fought off another match point. A kill by Jennifer Panico gave GFU a 16-15 lead, and a block by Amy Batchelder and Elizabeth Anderson gave the Bruins the win.

Willamette took a 12-11 lead in the first game on a kill by Brittany Ashby (Jr., S, Federal Way, WA/Decator HS). The game remained close the rest of the way, with Willamette leading or the score tied until George Fox took a 28-27 advantage. Even so, WU reached the first game point at 29-28, but George Fox scored the next two points for a 30-29 lead.

The Bearcats won the game 32-30 with three consecutive points. Kelly Lindstrom (Jr., OH, Banks, OR/Banks HS) tied the score with a kill, then Jordyn Smith (Sr., RS, Henderson, NV/Green Valley HS) added another kill. GFU committed an attacking error to provide WU with the winning point.

George Fox held a slim 11-9 lead in the second game, before the Bruins went on a 9-4 run to build a seven-point margin at 20-13. WU tallied the next point, but GFU countered with a 10-3 run to close out the game, while recording 15 kills and hitting .394.

Willamette rebounded with a 30-27 win in Game #3. The Bearcats forced GFU into 10 attacking errors, as the Bruins hit just 0.56 during the game. Meanwhile, Willamette amassed 17 kills, including eight by Lindstrom and five by Stutzman. WU rallied from a 15-9 deficit and took the lead for good at 23-22 on a kill by Smith. The Bearcats were in front by just one point, 28-27, before kills from Stutzman and Lindstrom ended the game.

The fourth game was tied at 19-19, but George Fox used a 4-1 run to take a 24-20 lead. WU scored the next three points to get within 24-23, but GFU went on to win the game, 30-26.

WU earned 70 kills during the match, with Stutzman leading the way with 18. Stutzman also produced four service aces, eight digs and eight block assists. Lindstrom and Jessica Durham (Jr., OH, Medford, OR/North Medford HS) contributed 16 kills apiece. Christina McGilvray (Fr., MB, Cove, OR/Cove HS) added eight kills and a .353 hitting percentage.

Ashby provided the Bearcats with 58 assists. Clare Chedester (Jr., LIB/DS, Encinitas, CA/San Dieguito Academy) led all players with 27 digs, while Christine Dion (So., LIB/RS, San Jose, Ca/U. of Portland) earned 21 digs.

For George Fox, Anderson recorded 19 kills and Pickett supplied 15 kills and nine block assists. Batchelder contributed 60 set assists and a team-high 26 digs. Panico provided the Bruins with 21 digs.

Both teams showed excellent blocking skills. GFU amassed 16.0 total blocks (3 solos, 26 assists), while Willamette finished with 11.0 total blocks (1 solo, 20 assists.).

Willamette will play another match on the road on Saturday, Sept. 29, when the Bearcats face Lewis & Clark College. Match time in Portland, Ore., is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PDT).

George Fox University defeated Willamette University, 30-32, 30-17, 27-30, 30-26, 17-15 - Box Score

Julie Stutzman earned 18 kills, four aces, eight digs and eight blocks against George Fox.

Julie Stutzman earned 18 kills, four aces, eight digs and eight blocks against George Fox.