Pacific Lutheran Defeats Bearcats to Improve to 8-1

Lutes Win 25-23, 25-21, 25-16

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

TACOMA, WASH. -- Nationally ranked Pacific Lutheran University defeated Willamette University, 3-0, in Northwest Conference volleyball action on Friday, Sept. 16. The Lutes edged out the Bearcats in two close sets to begin the match before winning, 25-23, 25-21, 25-16.

PLU, ranked #20 in this week's NCAA Division III Poll released by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), improved to 8-1 overall, while moving to 1-0 in the NWC. Willamette went to 4-7 overall, 1-1 in the NWC.

Erin Bremond registered 11 kills and a .350 hitting percentage for the Lutes. She also achieved three block assists. Kelsie Moore and Bethany Huston each finished with nine kills. PLU's setter, Samantha North added 35 assists and seven digs, while Blair Bjorkman led the Lutes with 13 digs.

Willamette's top attacker was Carly Hargrave (So., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS). She pounded out 10 hits with only one attacking error, as she attained a .600 hitting percentage. For the season, Hargrave leads the Bearcats with 79 kills and a .270 hitting percentage.

Madisyn Leenstra (Jr., OH/MH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) contributed eight kills for the Bearcats. Emily Compton (So., S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) supplied 27 assists, 10 digs and two block assists. Kathy Lee Glenn (Jr., LIB/DS, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) topped WU with 14 digs.

In the first set, PLU held an 8-4 lead, but Willamette eventually forced a 14-14 tie. The Bearcats and Lutes were tied three more times, including 20-20 following a kill by Hargrave. Chelsea Nelson countered with a kill to pull PLU back into the lead.

A bit later, the Lutes were in front 24-22, but Elisa Ahern (Fr., OPP, Lake Forest Park, WA/Shorecrest HS) landed a kill for the Bearcats to cut the lead to a single point. The Lutes won the set by claiming the next rally on a kill from Huston.

The second set also began with a quick surge by PLU, as the Lutes built a 9-2 advantage. Once again, WU rallied, with the Bearcats tying the set at 18-18 on a successful attack by Kathrin Miracle (Fr., MH, Gresham, OR/Sam Barlow HS). The Lutes answered with four consecutive points for a 22-18 lead. Willamette tallied the next two points, but was unable to catch the Lutes, who won the set, 25-21.

Willamette succeeded early in the third set, as the Bearcats took a 5-3 lead. The Lutes used a 6-1 run to move in front, 9-6, but held just a 10-9 lead after a kill by Ahern of WU. The set was still close several points later, with the Lutes holding a 14-12 edge.

PLU scored the next four points, including two kills by Moore and one by North, for an 18-12 margin. The Bearcats never got closer than four points the rest of the way.

During the match, Pacific Lutheran hit .222 as a team and finished with 45 kills and 49 digs. The Lutes attained 6.0 team total blocks. Willamette ended the night with 32 kills, a .144 team hitting percentage and 47 digs. WU earned 5.0 team total blocks.

The Bearcats don't play again until Friday, Sept. 23, when they will host Whitman College at Cone Field House in Salem, Ore. Match time is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).

Pacific Lutheran University 3
Willamette University 0
Madisyn Leenstra earned eight kills for the Bearcats.

Madisyn Leenstra earned eight kills for the Bearcats.