Whitworth Builds Early Lead in 3-0 Victory over Bearcats

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- Whitworth University took a 25-15 win in the first set, then held off Willamette University in the second and third sets, 25-21 and 26-24, respectively, as the Pirates downed the Bearcats, 3-0, in a Northwest Conference match on Friday, Sept. 19. Whitworth improved to 8-5 on the season, 1-0 in the NWC. Willamette dropped to 2-9 overall, 0-1 in the NWC.

For Willamette, Jessica Durham (Sr., OH, Medford, OR/North Medford HS) earned eight kills and 11 digs. Annika Moffett (Fr., OH, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) added seven kills and six digs. Clare Chedester (Sr., S/LIB, Encinitas, CA/San Dieguito Academy) supplied 19 assists.

Whitworth was led by Kaimi Rocha, who recorded a match-high 14 kills to go with a .306 hitting percentage and eight digs. Nikki Bardwell provided eight kills and 16 digs for the Pirates. Bethany Castilleja finished with 12 digs.

Setting duties for Whitworth were split by Bree Riddle and Jordon Huffnagle. Riddle earned 18 assists and Huffnagle achieved 12.

In the first set, the Pirates used a 10-3 run to go from a 3-3 tie into a 13-6 advantage for Whitworth. The Bearcats were never able to cut into the lead, as Whitworth won the set by 10 points. Willamette had eight kills and 10 kill errors during the set.

Willamette played better in the final two sets as the Bearcats fought to get back in the match. Whitworth led 9-4 in the second set, but the 'Cats eventually pulled within 9-8. Later in the set, the Pirates owned an 18-13 advantage before Willamette cut the lead to 21-19 on a service ace by Jaela Dinsmore (Fr., DS, Hines, OR/Burns HS).

The Bearcats were unable to get closer, but trailed by just two points at 23-21 following a kill by Moffett. Whitworth benefited from two consecutive attacking errors by the Bearcats to finish the set.

As in the first two sets, Whitworth built a lead to start the third stanza. The Pirates were in front 9-3 and later held an 18-10 advantage. Willamette stormed back to tie the game at 18-18, with Kelley Lindstrom (Sr., OH, Banks, OR/Banks HS) starting the run with a kill, then serving on the next seven points.

A service error ended the run and Whitworth tacked on a kill by Rocha for a 20-18 lead. The Bearcats rallied again, ultimately tying the set at 24-24 on a kill by Lindstrom. A kill by Randi Stephens of Whitworth moved the Pirates in front, and a hitting error by Willamette completed the match.

Whitworth hit .177 overall, including .235 in the first set. Willamette finished with an attacking percentage of 0.68 on the night, as the team's hitting woes in the first set held down the offensive numbers. In the final two sets, Willamette earned 21 kills and had 11 hitting errors on 73 total attacks (.137 hitting percentage).

The Pirates achieved a 38-29 margin in kills and a 56-52 edge in digs. Willamette recorded 10 block assists for 5.0 team total blocks, while Whitworth had one block solo and four block assists for 3.0 team total blocks.

Willamette will remain on the road on Saturday, Sept. 20 to take on Whitman College in another Northwest Conference match. The action in Walla Walla, Wash., is set to get underway at 5 p.m. (PDT).

Whitworth University defeated Willamette University, 25-15, 25-21, 26-24
Jessica Durham achieved 11 digs against Whitworth. She has a team-high 107 digs (2.89 avg.) on the season.

Jessica Durham achieved 11 digs against Whitworth. She has a team-high 107 digs (2.89 avg.) on the season.

Clare Chedeste was credited with 19 assists versus Whitworth.

Clare Chedeste was credited with 19 assists versus Whitworth.