Willamette Defeats Bethel in Straight Sets

Bearcats Win 25-23, 25-20, 25-23

By Sara Elcano, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

FOREST GROVE, ORE. -- The Willamette University volleyball team jumped out to a 4-0 lead over Bethel University (Minn.) in the first set and never let up. The Bearcats went on to capture the victory, 25-23, 25-20, 25-23. Both Willamette and Bethel now have 1-1 overall records.

The momentum of the early 4-0 advantage in the opening set helped the Bearcats stop a late surge by Bethel. The Royals clawed their way back to even the score at 23-23 before back-to-back kills by Molly Blankenship (Sr., OH, Spokane, WA/Spokane Falls CC) ended the set.

The second set was a different story, as it was Willamette that needed to play catch-up. Trailing 18-12, WU rattled off eight straight points to take a 20-18 lead. Blankenship served three aces during the run. Bethel used two timeouts to try to stop Willamette's momentum but was unsuccessful. The Bearcats won the second set, 25-20.

The third set was back and forth as each team exchanged small runs. Once again, it was back-to-back kills by Blankenship that ended the set.

Blankenship led the way with 13 kills and three aces. Emily Compton (So., S, Portola, CA/Boise State Univ) earned 25 assists, 11 digs and two aces in her first start as a Bearcat. Sophomore Jaci Abeloe (MH, Medford, OR/North Medford HS) added six kills on a .235 hitting percentage.

As a team, Willamette had 34 kills and eight aces.

The team is back on the court later today, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. (PDT) against SUNY Oneonta (N.Y.). The game will be played in Forest Grove, Ore.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 3
Bethel University 0
25-23, 25-20, 25-23
Molly Blankenship earned a match-high 13 kills to go with nine digs, three aces and two block assists.

Molly Blankenship earned a match-high 13 kills to go with nine digs, three aces and two block assists.