Warner Pacific Slips Past Bearcats in Five-Set Volleyball Match

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University rallied twice after falling behind by a set, but Warner Pacific College won the decisive fifth set to defeat the Bearcats, 3-2, at Cone Field House on Saturday, Sept. 12. The Knights edged out the win, 25-19, 15-25, 25-13, 20-25, 15-12, to improve to 5-3 on the season. Willamette dropped to 2-5.

Leah Gradwohl led the Knights with 17 kills and 20 digs, while hitting .349. Claire Van Meer added 12 kills and a .440 hitting percentage.

For Willamette, Danica Reed (Fr., OH, Arvada, CO/Arvada HS) registered 13 kills and hit .263. Molly Blankenship (Fr., OH, Priest River, ID/Lamanna HS/Spokane CC) provided the Bearcats with 12 kills and 17 digs.

WPC earned 19 service aces, while Willamette achieved 8 service aces.

The Bearcats played without senior hitters Jessie McGraw (OH, Gaston, OR/Yamhill-Carlton HS/Corban College) and Julie Stutzman (MH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS), who were unable to play due to injuries.

Willamette held a 4-1 lead in the first set, but the Knights countered with a 10-1 run for a 11-5 lead. The teams exchanged points for most of the remainder of the set and Warner Pacific won, 25-19.

The 'Cats put together an outstanding second set, with Willamette hitting .370 and limiting Warner Pacific to a negative .038 attack percentage. WU amassed 13 kills and just three hitting errors during the set. Reed led the way with four kills, while Brigit Miller (Fr., S, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) earned 10 assists. Miller recorded 36 assists for the match.

Warner Pacific recovered in the third set by hitting .371. The Knights produced 15 kills and two errors.

Willamette recorded a .324 hitting percentage in the fourth set -- on the strength of 15 kills of its own -- to force the final stanza. The fourth set was tied 19-19 at one point, but WU moved in front with a kill from Reed and the Knights were unable to rally. The Bearcats ended the set with three consecutive points on an attacking error by WPC, a kill by Blankenship and and a service ace by Reed.

WU surged out to a 3-1 lead to start the fifth set. The Knights tied the score at 4-4 and the team were locked in a 7-7 tie six rallies later. Warner Pacific moved into a 10-7 lead with a kill by Emily Damschen, a service ace by Melita Elliot and a kill by Van Meer. The Bearcats got within two points five times the rest of the way, but couldn't catch the Knights, who won 15-12.

The Bearcats will travel across town to take on Corban College on Tuesday, Sept. 15. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PDT).

Warner Pacific College 3
Willamette University 2
25-19, 15-25, 25-13, 20-25, 15-12
Danica Reed recorded 13 kills and nine digs in Willamette's match with Warner Pacific.

Danica Reed recorded 13 kills and nine digs in Willamette's match with Warner Pacific.