Bearcats Sweep Bruins at Sparks Center, 25-18, 25-23, 25-18

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Senior outside hitter Jessie McGraw (Gaston, OR/Yamhill-Carlton HS/Corban College) pounded out 14 kills, earned 15 digs and recorded three block assists in her final collegiate game, leading Willamette University to a 3-0 sweep of George Fox University on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Sparks Center. The Bearcats downed the Bruins, 25-18, 25-23, 25-18.

Willamette University 3
George Fox University 0
25-18, 25-23, 25-18

Willamette finished the season at 11-13 overall and 8-8 in the Northwest Conference. With the win, the Bearcats secured outright possession of fifth place in the NWC standings. WU won six of its final eight matches. George Fox fell to 17-7 overall, 10-6 in the NWC.

Molly Blankenship (Jr., OH, Priest River, ID/Lamanna HS/Spokane Falls CC) of Willamette led all players with 16 kills. She also registered 12 digs and had three service aces. Willamette earned nine aces overall.

Madisyn Leenstra (Fr., MH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) added seven kills and a .500 hitting percentage for the Bearcats. Julie Stutzman (Sr., MH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) provided seven kills and hit .312. Setter Brigit Miller (Fr., Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) supplied 41 assists, while Annika Moffett (So., OPP, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) achieved 12 digs.

George Fox was led by Lyndsay Hovee and Jennifer Panico, each with six kills. Panico also contributed 13 digs. Kaitlyn Maddams topped all servers with five aces. Sarah Crossfield achieved five total blocks.

Willamette surged out to a 13-8 lead to start the opening set. The Bearcats also led 16-13, before extending their lead to 20-13 on four consecutive kills. Stutzman pounded out the first kill, with McGraw earning the next two and Moffett completing the 4-0 run. The Bearcats won the set, 25-18.

GFU scored three of the first four points in set #2 and later held a 16-12 lead. The Bearcats rallied with a 4-0 run to tie the set. WU eventually took an 18-17 lead on an attacking error by the Bruins. The advantage reached 20-17 before a 5-2 run by George Fox created another tie at 22-22.

An attacking error by the Bruins moved Willamette in front, but a kill by Panico tied the score again. Blankenship and Stutzman combined to block an attack by Hovee, giving WU a 24-23 edge. The Bearcats received the final point of the set on a GFU attacking error.

WU never trailed in the third set and owned a 7-3 lead after 10 points. Although the Bruins never pulled into the lead, they moved within a single point at 13-12 and 14-13.

The 'Cats went on a 8-2 run to take command with a 22-15 advantage. Willamette's run included three kills from Blankenship and two supplied by Stutzman. WU went on to win the set, 25-18.

Willamette achieved a .282 team hitting percentage, with a .500 percentage in the third set. The Bearcats achieved 49 kills overall, including 20 in the first set and 17 in the third. Meanwhile, George Fox hit .135 and had just 28 kills. The Bruins earned 10.0 team total blocks.

Prior to the match, Willamette honored its two seniors -- McGraw and Stutzman. McGraw finished her career with 777 kills, 809 digs and 103 blocks. Stutzman achieved 615 kills, 93 service aces and 154 blocks.

Jessie McGraw concluded her career with a double-double of 14 kills and 15 digs against George Fox.

Jessie McGraw concluded her career with a double-double of 14 kills and 15 digs against George Fox.