Willamette Snatches a Win Over Rival Linfield

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

MCMINNVILLE, ORE. -- The Willamette University volleyball team stormed into McMinnville on Wednesday evening, Sept. 30, and left with a victory. The Bearcats defeated the Wildcats in four sets, 25-19, 19-25, 25-17 and 25-22. WU moved to 5-8 overall and to 2-3 in the Northwest Conference. Linfield fell to 6-6 overall, 3-2 in the NWC.

Willamette trailed early in the first set but stormed back to tie the score at 12-12 on a serving ace from Molly Blankenship (Jr., OH, Priest River, ID/Lamanna HS/Spokane Falls CC). Linfield took a 13-12 lead, but WU scored five consecutive points for a 17-13 advantage and remained in front the rest of the set.

After dropping the second set to Linfield, 25-19, the Bearcats continued to roll in the third set. As a team, WU registered 14 kills and hit .361 during the set.

The Bearcats claimed an early 5-4 lead in the final set and did not relinquish it. Linfield attempted a late comeback, as the Wildcats pulled within 24-22, but Willamette ended the match on a kill from senior Jessie McGraw (OH, Gaston, OR/Yamhill-Carlton HS/Corban College).

McGraw led the way for the Bearcats with 16 kills and 23 digs. McGraw hit .483 during the match. Blankenship tallied 13 kills and five aces. Julie Stutzman (Jr., MH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) chipped in eight kills and five aces. Brigit Miller (Fr., Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) led all players with 40 assists.

Linfield received 11 kills from Rae Smith. The Wildcats hit just.094 for the match, with 33 kills and 20 attacking errors. Samantha Lau earned 21 digs, while Tara Hill provided 11 and Katie Leavitt contributed 10.

The Bearcats are back in action on Saturday, Sept. 26, when they will host the visiting Pioneers from Lewis & Clark College. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m. (PDT) in the Sparks Center.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 3
Linfield College 1
25-19, 19-25, 25-17, 25-22
Jessie McGraw of Willamette led all players with 16 kills and 23 digs, as Willamette defeated Linfield, 3-1.

Jessie McGraw of Willamette led all players with 16 kills and 23 digs, as Willamette defeated Linfield, 3-1.