Pacific Lutheran Defeats Bearcats in NWC Match

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Pacific Lutheran University, ranked #17 in the NCAA Division III Poll, defeated Willamette University in three games on Friday, Oct. 12, but the Lutes had to battle for the third game, as the Bearcats almost forced Game #4. The Lutes held off Willamette's charge to win the match, 30-18, 30-19, 31-29. PLU improved to 16-3 overall and to 9-0 in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats dropped to 3-16 on the season, 0-10 in the NWC.

PLU achieved significant leads at the start of the first two games. The Lutes took a 15-4 lead in the first game and led 15-8 in the second game. The Bearcats weren't able to overcome the early deficits.

In the opener, PLU extended its lead to 17-5, then matched the Bearcats 13-13 over the final 26 points. During the second game, the Lutes outscored the Bearcats 15-11 at the end of the contest.

In the third game, however, Willamette stayed close enough to the Lutes to make a couple of runs at the NWC leaders. After trailing 7-4, WU went on a 7-2 run for an 11-9 advantage. The Bearcats fell behind, 15-11, when the Lutes countered with six points in a row.

The Bearcats answered with a five-point run of their own, including two kills by Kelly Lindstrom (Jr., OH, Banks, OR/Banks HS) and one kill by Julie Stutzman (So., MB, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS). After cutting the PLU lead to 19-18, the Bearcats gave up the next four points and faced a 23-18 deficit.

Later, WU trailed 25-22, but won five consecutive rallies to claim a 27-25 lead. Jordyn Smith (Sr., RS, Henderson, NV/Green Valley HS) started the run with a kill and Jessica Durham (Jr., OH, Medford, OR/North Medford HS) added kills for the next two points. Stutzman recorded a block solo and teamed with Durham on a double block to complete the rally.

The Bearcats also led 28-26, before PLU put together three straight points to take the lead. Beth Hanna, Sarah Beaver and Abby Mitchel earned kills for the Lutes.

Clare Chedester (Jr., LIB/DS, Encinitas,CA/San Dieguito Academy) put over a back-row kill to tied the game at 29-29. Pacific Lutheran moved in front on a kill by Hanna and recorded match point on a service ace by Lauren Poole.

Stutzman provided the Bearcats with a well-rounded effort. She recorded nine kills, earned a .333 hitting percentage, registered five digs and recorded four total blocks, including three block solos. Lindstrom contributed a team-high 11 kills, while Durham earned 10 kills and 10 digs.

Chedester led WU with 13 digs. Christine Dion (So., LIB/RS, San Jose, CA/Presentation HS/U. of Portland) ended the match with 10 digs. Brittany Ashby (Jr., S, Federal Way, WA/Decator HS) supplied 32 assists.

Hanna and Stacie Matz led PLU with 14 kills apiece. Hanna hit .297 and Matz added a .282 hitting percentage. On defense, Hanna registered 16 digs, while Megan Kosel provided 13 and Matz tacked on 11. The Lutes also earned 8.0 team total blocks and achieved nine service aces, including three each by Kosel and Pool. Gina Di Maggio recorded 37 assists.

The Bearcats, who have played three matches in four days, are now off until Friday, Oct. 19, when they will travel to Spokane, Wash., to take on Whitworth University in an NWC contest. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PDT). Willamette will play at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., at 7 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday, Oct. 20.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 0
Pacific Lutheran University 3
Pacific Lutheran University won 30-18, 30-19, 31-29
Julie Stutzman hit .333, with nine kills, four total blocks and five digs against 17th-ranked Pacific Lutheran.

Julie Stutzman hit .333, with nine kills, four total blocks and five digs against 17th-ranked Pacific Lutheran.