Bearcats Fall To Boxers, 3-1

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

FOREST GROVE, ORE. -- The Willamette University volleyball team was defeated by Pacific University, 3-1, on Friday, Sept. 25. The Bearcats started out strong, winning the first set 25-18. Pacific battled back to win the next three sets, however, 25-11, 30-28 and 25-13.

The Bearcats were led by senior Jessie McGraw (OH, Gaston, OR/Yamhill-Carlton HS/Corban College) during the first set. McGraw recorded four kills during the set, as the Bearcats got off to a strong start. During the set, WU took advantage of nine hitting errors made by the Boxers to help the Bearcats register a 25-18 win.

The tide changed for Willamette in the second set as Pacific raised its hitting percentage to .333 and jumped out to an early 5-0 lead. Despite solid play for Annika Moffett (OPP, So., Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) and Molly Blankenship (Jr., OH, Spokane, WA/Spokane Falls CC), the Bearcats eventually fell 25-11.

Willamette appeared to be in control of the third set, leading 15-9 at one point. However, the Boxers rattled off eight straight points during one stretch to claim a 19-17 lead. WU had several clutch blocks during the final points of the set, but was unable to stop Pacific’s charge. The Boxers earned 19 kills and had 12 attacking errors -- four on blocks by the Bearcats -- during the set.

In the fourth set, it was another eight-point streak by the Boxers that ultimately propelled them to victory. Blankenship tallied four kills for the Bearcats during the set, while Keleigh Kremers achieved four kills for Pacific.

For the game, WU hit .065 compared to Pacific’s .175. The Bearcats finished with 35 kills while the Boxers tallied 55. Each team recorded five blocks apiece.

Blankenship finished the game with 13 kills and 28 digs. McGraw contributed nine kills, and Julie Stutzman Jr., MH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) added five kills while hitting .231 for the match. Brigit Miller (Fr., Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) notched 28 assists during the four sets.

Pacific received a match-high 23 kills from Alexa Block, who earned a .308 hitting percentage. Kremers added 13 kills for the Boxers. Kelsy Takashima provided 10 kills and five service aces. Jade Thompson registered 17 digs, while Brittney Johnson supplied 49 assists.

Willamette dropped to 4-7 overall and 1-2 in the Northwest Conference. Pacific moved to 6-5 overall and 1-2 in the NWC.

The Bearcats are back in action on Saturday, Sept. 26 as they host the visiting Loggers from the University of Puget Sound. The Loggers are currently 8-3 overall and 2-1 in the NWC. UPS is ranked 15th in the nation in NCAA Division III. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m. (PDT) in the Sparks Center.

BOX SCORE
Pacific University 3
Willamette University 1
18-25, 25-11, 30-28, 25-13
Molly Blankenship led the Bearcats with 13 kills and 28 digs against the Boxers.

Molly Blankenship led the Bearcats with 13 kills and 28 digs against the Boxers.