Pacific and Bearcats Battle for Five Sets; Boxers Win 3-2

Leenstra Earns 16 Kills, while Waltz Hits .455

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University battled back from a 1-0 deficit by winning the second and third sets, but Pacific University claimed the fourth and fifth sets, as the Boxers defeated the Bearcats, 3-2, in Northwest Conference volleyball action on Friday, Oct 7. Both teams played well for most of the match at Cone Field House, with each squad showing offensive success. Pacific hit .251 for the night, while Willamette hit .198.

The Boxers, who entered the match tied for second place in the NWC, improved to 11-5 overall and 5-2 in the conference. Willamette moved to 6-10 on the season, 3-4 in the NWC. The Bearcats will play at the University of Puget Sound on Saturday, Oct. 8, starting at 7 p.m. (PDT).

The Bearcats were led by Madisyn Leenstra (Jr., MH/OH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS), who finished with 16 kills. Danica Reed (Jr., OH, Arvada, CO/Ralston Valley HS) contributed 12 kills, hit .243 and added 11 digs.

Shannon Waltz (So., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra HS) of Willamette hit an impressive .455 with 10 kills and no errors on 22 attacks. Nicole Mertens (Jr., OH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) earned nine kills and 15 digs.

Willamette setter Emily Compton (So., Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) had a solid match, with 45 assists, nine digs, three blocks, six kills and a .267 attacking percentage. Kathy Lee Glenn (Jr., LIB/DS, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) registered 33 digs and six assists.

Kelsy Takashima topped the Boxers with 17 kills. She also hit .353. Alexa Block tacked on 15 kills, Mariah McHolland supplied 12 kills and a .370 hitting percentage, and Haley Bedell matched McHolland with 12 kills.

Jade Thompson of Pacific provided 45 digs to lead all players. Block had 15 digs for the Boxers. Malea Webb earned 30 assists and Gabriela Vega produced 21 assists, as the Boxers achieved 65 kills.

Willamette led 4-1 in the first set, but the Boxers rallied to tie the score at 6-6. After WU took an 8-6 lead, Pacific responded with a 7-0 run for a 13-8 advantage. McHolland began the run with a kill and later added a kill for the 12th point.

Following Pacific's run, the Bearcats had to fight uphill the rest of the set. Willamette got as close as 18-14 on a kill by Waltz, but couldn't catch the Boxers.

The Bearcats took charge in the second set. WU built an 8-3 lead with five of the points from kills. Later, the Bearcats won four rallies in a row to extend the margin to 15-7. Willamette eventually led 19-10 on its way to a 25-17 win.

Three juniors for the Bearcats -- Leenstra, Reed and Mertens -- each had three kills during the second set. Their efforts helped WU hit a blistering .464 for the set with 14 kills and only one attacking error.

Pacific hit .341 in the third set, but was unable to hold off the Bearcats. The Boxers led 15-11 and later held an 18-13 advantage.

Willamette stormed back with an 8-3 run that included one service ace by Lizzy Balding (So., DS/LIB, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) and two aces by Mertens. WU tied the score at 21-21.

The Boxers tallied the next two points on a pair of kills by Bedell. WU called timeout and gained the following three points with a kill by Leenstra, an ace by Waltz and a kill by Compton. WU held a 24-23 lead, but Pacific tied the set on a kill by Brittney Johnson.

Leenstra used a kill to give the Bearcats another lead at 25-24, only to have Block register a kill for another tie. A service error by Takashima of Pacific moved WU back into the lead. The Bearcats won the game, 27-25, when the next rally ended with an attacking error by the Boxers.

Willamette began the fifth set with a service ace by Glenn. Pacific took a 3-1 lead with a kill by Takashima, a kill from Bedell and another kill by Takashima. The Boxers eventually increased the lead to 6-2, but Willamette answered with a 6-2 run of its own for an 8-8 tie.

A kill by Bedell, an ace by Block and another kill by Bedell, moved Pacific into an 11-8 lead. Once again, Willamette rallied, using kills by Hargrave, Mertens and Reed to complete a 4-1 run for a 12-12 tie.

The Boxers ended the five-set match by wining the next three rallies. The first ended with a kill by Takashima, the second resulted in an attacking error by Willamette and the third ended with a passing error by the Bearcats.

Pacific University 3
Willamette University 2
Pacific won 25-17, 17-25, 25-27, 25-19, 15-12
Shannon Waltz contributed 10 kills with no errors on 22 attacks for a .455 hitting percentage.

Shannon Waltz contributed 10 kills with no errors on 22 attacks for a .455 hitting percentage.

Madisyn Leenstra led the Bearcats with 16 kills.

Madisyn Leenstra led the Bearcats with 16 kills.