Willamette Defeats Whitworth, 3-1

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- The Willamette University women's volleyball team used a strong start and a balanced team attack on its way to a 3-1 victory over Whitworth University on Saturday evening, Sept. 19. The Bearcats defeated the Pirates 25-10, 25-21, 18-25 and 25-15. Willamette moved to 4-6 overall and 1-1 in the Northwest Conference. The Pirates fell to 4-9 overall and 0-2 in the NWC.

Willamette and Whitworth battled back and forth through the early points of the first set. With the Bearcats leading 10-9, it was Julie Stutzman's (Jr., MH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) turn to serve. Stutzman, coming off of an injury, immediately served an ace for WU. After a series of kills by Willamette and hitting errors by Whitworth, the score was 22-10; Stutzman had served twelve straight points for the Bearcats.

WU closed out the first set on back-to-back kills from Molly Blankenship (Jr., OH, Spokane, WA/Spokane Falls CC) and Annika Moffett (So., OPP, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS). Willamette continued to carry the momentum in the match into the second set where Stutzman gave the Bearcats a solid start by serving six straight points. Stutzman served two aces during the Bearcat run.

The Bearcats, who did not trail during the second set, had six different players record at least one kill. Brigit Miller (Fr., Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) registered ten assists during the set.

Willamette kept the score close throughout the third set before eventually falling 25-18. However, the third set proved to be just a bump in the road for the Bearcats who jumped on the Pirates early in the fourth set and did not let up.

Jessie McGraw (Sr., OH, Gaston, OR/Yamhill-Carlton HS/Corban College) and Moffett combined to serve four aces in the final set for the Bearcats. Clutch serving and a strong blocking effort proved to be the deciding factors in the fourth set. Bearcat blockers stopped four Whitworth attacks.

For the game, Willamette hit .124 compared to Whitworth’s .007. The Bearcats' defense held six different Pirate players to negative hitting percentages. Willamette team members combined to register 44 kills while Whitworth tallied 31 kills.

McGraw led the way with 12 kills and three serving aces, while Stutzman added five kills and four aces. Miller finished the game with 39 assists. Blankenship registered 11 kills and freshman Josephine Johnston (MH, Florence, MT/Florence-Carlton HS) contributed eight kills of her own.

The Bearcats are back in action on Friday, Sept. 25 at Pacific University. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m. (PDT). The Boxers are 5-5 overall and 0-2 in the NWC.

Willamette University 3
Whitworth University 1
25-10, 25-21, 18-25 and 25-15
Jessie McGraw contributed 12 kills, 15 digs and three service aces in Willamette's win over Whitworth.

Jessie McGraw contributed 12 kills, 15 digs and three service aces in Willamette's win over Whitworth.