Pacific Lutheran Rallies to Defeat Willamette, 3-1, in NWC Volleyball

Bremond Earns 15 Kills for Lutes, Blankenship Registers 14 Kills for WU

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Pacific Lutheran University dropped the first set, but rallied to defeat Willamette University, 3-1, in a Northwest Conference volleyball match on Friday, Oct. 1 at Cone Field House. The Lutes won, 19-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-19, to improve to 11-3 overall, 5-0 in the NWC. Willamette moved to 6-9 on the season, 2-4 in conference play.

The Bearcats led 9-8 in the first set, before going on a 6-1 run to grab a 15-9 advantage. PLU eventually cut the lead to 17-16 and tied the game 18-18 on a kill by Erin Bremond.

Willamette used another run, this time six consecutive points, to move into a 24-18 lead. The run included two service aces by Carly Hargrave (Fr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) and ended with a kill by Shannon Waltz (Fr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra HS).

Bremond recorded a kill for PLU to keep the set going, but WU won the game 25-19 by taking the next point on an attacking error by the Lutes.

In the second set, Willamette achieved leads of 6-3 and 8-6. The Lutes answered with a 9-0 run -- with all nine points ending on a PLU kill. Beth Hanna registered four of the kills. The final eight points of the run occurred with Rose Mattson serving.

Back-to-back kills for the Bearcats ended the run and pulled WU within 15-10, but the Bearcats were unable to get closer. The Lutes won the set, 25-14.

PLU built a 13-5 lead at the start of the third set. Later, Willamette moved within 16-10, but three straight points for the Lutes allowed Pacific Lutheran to increase the lead on its way to a 25-14 win.

In the fourth set, the Lutes led 8-4. WU scored the next two points on a kill by Danica Reed (So., OH, Arvada, CO/Ralston Valley HS) and a hitting error by PLU. The Lutes countered with a 6-3 run to claim a 14-9 advantage.

Willamette responded by winning four consecutive rallies, starting with a kill by Molly Blankenship (Sr., OH, Spokane, WA/Lamanna HS/Spokane Falls). Hargrave was the server on the next three Bearcat points, as WU completed the run and pulled within 14-13. After a hitting error by the Lutes, Hargrave provided a service ace, which was followed by another PLU attacking error.

The Lutes won three rallies in a row for a 17-13 lead. Willamette cut the margin to two points at 17-15, but Pacific Lutheran closed out the set with a 8-4 run. PLU won 25-19 to end the match.

Blankenship topped Willamette with 14 kills and a .343 hitting percentage. She also achieved eight digs.

Reed added nine kills and seven digs for the Bearcats. Elizabeth Balding (Fr., LIB, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) led WU with 16 digs, while Kirsten Brehmer (Fr., MH/OPP, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS) provided 12 digs. Emily Compton (So., S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) supplied 25 assists.

PLU struggled to a .028 hitting percentage in the first set, but ended the match with an overall hitting percentage of .218. Willamette hit .109 for the match.

Bremond led the Lutes with 15 kills and a .478 hitting percentage. Hanna and Kelsie Moore each pounded out 12 kills, with Hanna adding 14 digs. Blair Bjorkman, the Lutes' libero, registered a match-high 27 digs, while setter Sarah Beaver contributed 43 assists, 12 digs and five kills.

Willamette's next match is on Friday, Oct. 8 against Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. Match time is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).

Pacific Lutheran University 3
Willamette University 1
19-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-19
Molly Blankenship pounded out 14 kills and a .343 hitting percentage for the Bearcats.

Molly Blankenship pounded out 14 kills and a .343 hitting percentage for the Bearcats.