Linfield Edges Bearcats with 15-11 Win in Game #5

By Neil Patel, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6804

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University volleyball team won two of the first three games, but Linfield College rallied to win the Northwest Conference match, 3-2, on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Both teams held leads in the final game, before the Wildcats won the match 27-30, 30-22, 25-30, 30-28, 15-11.

Linfield improved to 12-6 overall, 7-2 in the NWC. The Bearcats dropped to 3-16 overall, 0-9 in the NWC.

The decisive fifth game began with WU claiming a 4-0 lead. Willamette rode strong play from Julie Stutzman (So., MB, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) and Kelly Lindstrom (Jr., OH, Banks, OR/Banks HS) to increase the lead to 8-5. However, Linfield went on a 10-3 run in the final moments, as the Wildcats recorded nine kills and hit .438 in the final game. The run by the Wildcats included six consecutive points that erased a 9-6 lead by Willamette and created a 12-9 advantage for Linfield.

Willamette started strong in the first game, taking a 3-0 lead. Linfield fought back to claim a 5-5 tie, before the Bearcats turned it around. Led by strong setting from Brittany Ashby (Jr., S, Federal Way, WA/Decator HS) and solid defensive play from Clare Chedester (Fr., LIB/DS, Encinitas, CA/San Dieguito Academy), Willamette went on a 9-1 run for a 15-6 lead. The run ended with seven straight points and was capped by an ace from Stutzman.

Linfield eventually rallied to tie the game at 26-26. The Bearcats won the next three points to start a 4-1 and close out the game, 30-27. Three of WU's last four points during the game were recorded on kills by Stutzman.

Willamette held a slim lead in the second game at 14-11, until Linfield mounted a comeback and won seven points in a row to build a four-point margin at 18-14. The Bearcats won the next two points, but the Wildcats countered with a 12-6 run to end the game. Linfield achieved 16 kills and a .243 hitting percentage during the contest.

Willamette rebounded with a 30-25 win in Game #3. With the Bearcats up 24-23, Stutzman and Jessica Durham (Jr., OH, Medford, OR/North Medford HS) combined for the biggest block of the game, causing Linfield to call a timeout and firing up the home side. Willamette went on a 5-2 run to finish that game. Stutzman and Durham combined for eight kills and two aces, and Lindstrom contributed 5 kills, during the game. Willamette amassed 18 kills and hit .333, while forcing Linfield into seven attacking errors.

Linfield created momentum at the start of the fourth game by building a 15-10 lead. However, Chedester of Willamette went on the best serving run of the day for the Bearcats, winning six straight points, including two service aces. Meanwhile, Lindstrom and Durham combined for 12 kills for Willamette during the game. The Bearcats used this energy to gain a 28-26 lead, but Linfield won four points in a row to take the fourth game, 30-28.

WU earned 76 kills during the match, with Lindstrom leading the way with 24. Lindstrom also had two service aces and eight digs. Stutzman produced 15 kills, three service aces, six digs, three block solos and two block assists. Durham contributed 13 kills and a team-high 26 digs, while Chedester earned 20 digs.

Ashby provided the Bearcats with 54 assists, 11 kills and five digs. Edyth Lee-Barnes (So., OH/RS, Corvallis, OR/Corvallis HS) added 15 digs, three kills and a .429 hitting percentage.

For Linfield, Baker recorded 26 kills and Taylor supplied 15 kills and four block assists. Purser contributed 40 set assists and six digs. Rahn provided the Wildcats with a match-high 28 digs.

Willamette will play its next match at home on Friday, Oct. 12, when the Bearcats will face Pacific Lutheran University. Match time in Salem, Ore., is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PDT).

Willamette University 2
Linfield College 3
Linfield College won 27-30, 30-22, 25-30, 30-28, 15-11
Brittany Ashby (#3) earned 54 assists, 11 kills and five digs against Linfield on Oct. 10. Julie Stutzman (#24) recorded 15 kills and provided five total blocks.

Brittany Ashby (#3) earned 54 assists, 11 kills and five digs against Linfield on Oct. 10. Julie Stutzman (#24) recorded 15 kills and provided five total blocks.