Pacific Wins Two Close Sets, Defeats Willamette, 3-0

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

FOREST GROVE, ORE. -- Pacific University won two sets by the narrowest of volleyball margins on its way to a 3-0 victory over Willamette University in a Northwest Conference match on Friday, Oct. 31. Pacific edged the Bearcats 25-23 in the first set, then took the second set, 25-15, before claiming the third set with a slim 26-24 advantage.

The Boxers improved to 7-14 overall, 6-7 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette, which received 14 kills and 13 digs from junior outside hitter Jessica McGraw (Gaston, OR/Corban College), dropped to 6-18 overall, 4-10 in the NWC.

McGraw led WU's attack, while Jessica Durham (Sr., OH, Medford, OR/North Medford HS) contributed 13 kills and seven digs. Both players were solid on offense, with McGraw hitting .333 and Durham hitting .276.

Pacific was led by Caitlin Gollehon, who earned 13 kills an just two attacking attacking errors, while providing a .478 hitting percentage. Keleigh Kremers and Melissa Dunn added eight kills apiece. Dunn also accumulated 14 digs.

Both teams hit well in set #1, as Willamette connected for 13 kills and Pacific produced 15. The Boxers built leads of 10-4 and 15-9, but the Bearcats eventually moved in front, 21-20, on a kill by McGraw. It was McGraw's third kill in a 6-0 run that allowed the 'Cats to surge into the lead. WU also held a 22-21 advantage following another kill by McGraw.

Pacific won the next three points, on a kill by Dunn and two Willamette attacking errors, to surge back in front 24-22. Durham pounded home a kill for Willamette to cut the margin to a single point, but Dunn added a kill for Pacific to end the set.

Durham led all players with six kills in the opening frame, while McGraw hit .714 with five kills and no errors on seven attacks. Dunn topped Pacific with five kills during the set.

A service ace by McGraw and two by Jaela Dinsmore (Fr., LIB/DS, Hines, OR/Burns HS) helped WU take a 6-1 lead in the second set. Pacific bounced back and scored six points in a row to move ahead, 7-6.

The Boxers never trailed again during the set. Even so, WU trailed just 12-10 and 16-13, before Pacific used a 4-0 run to extend its lead to seven points. After WU scored the next two points to pull within 20-15, the Boxers countered with a 5-0 run.

Willamette trailed 19-13 in set #3, but battled the rest of the way. The 'Cats pulled within 21-19 on a kill by Kelley Lindstrom (Sr., MB, Banks, OR/Banks HS). WU edged within a single point at 22-21 when McGraw and Christina McGilvray (So., MB, Cove, OR/Cove HS) blocked an attack by Gollehon.

Two kills by Gollehon sandwiched a kill by McGilvray, as Pacific claimed a 24-22 advantage. McGraw won a side-out by landing a kill, then provided a service ace to tie the set.

The Boxers advanced to match point at 25-24 on a kill by Kelsy Takashima. Pacific recorded the final point on a block by Takashima and Joanna Delanty, as McGraw attempted to tie the score.

Pacific hit .295 with 41 kills during the match and finished with 11.0 team total blocks (22 block assists). Brittney Johnson led the Boxers with 23 assists, while Lia Nishikura contributed 16 assists.

Willamette earned 36 kills and concluded the night with a 51-46 margin in digs. McGraw's 13 digs were matched by Christine Dion (Sr., S, San Jose, CA/University of Portland). Dion also recorded a match-high 31 assists.

The Bearcats will return to action on Friday, Nov. 7, when they host Pacific Lutheran University at Cone Field House in Salem, Ore. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PST).

Pacific University 3
Willamette University 0
25-23, 25-15, 26-24
Jessica McGraw achieved 14 kills, 13 digs, three block assists and two service aces at Pacific.

Jessica McGraw achieved 14 kills, 13 digs, three block assists and two service aces at Pacific.