#23-Ranked Occidental Defeats Bearcats, 26-24, 25-21, 25-20

Leenstra Earns 12 Kills, Glenn Registers 20 Digs, for Willamette

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Occidental College, ranked #23 in the NCAA Division III Preseason Poll, received a solid battle from Willamette University in the Bearcats' season opener, but the Tigers prevailed, 26-24, 25-21, 25-20, on Sunday, Sept. 2 at Linfield College. The neutral-site win improved Occidental to 3-0 on the season, while Willamette fell to 0-1.

Kasey Rose led the Tigers with 14 kills, while Alyssa Mort added eight kills and a .368 hitting percentage. Setters Jessie Altman and Sarah Beene recorded 17 assists and 15 assists, respectively.

Madisyn Leenstra (Sr., MH/OH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) topped Willamette's offensive stats with 12 kills. She achieved a .206 hitting percentage and produced 10 digs on defense.

Nicole Mertens (Sr., OH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) contributed seven kills and 10 digs for the Bearcats, while Danica Reed (Sr., OH, Arvada, CO/Ralston Valley HS) and Carly Hargrave (Jr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) each earned six kills. Kathy Lee Glenn (Sr., LIB, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) was credited with a team-high 20 digs.

WU setter Emily Compton (Sr., Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) accumulated 28 assists and supplied 12 digs.

The first set was close most of the way, with neither team leading by more than one point until Willamette strung together four rallies for a 23-20 advantage. Reed achieved back-to-back kills to start the run, while Kirsten Brehmer (Jr., MH/OPP, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS) added a service ace and the Tigers committed an attacking error.

Occidental answered with a 4-0 run of its own. A kill by Rose was followed by a WU hitting error. A service ace by Rose tied the set and a kill by Dana Michels gave the Tigers a 24-23 edge.

Rose's next serve was long, pulling Willamette back into a tie. Mort broke the tie with a kill for the Tigers. Occidental secured the 26-24 win on a service ace by Madyson Cassidy.

WU surged out to a 7-4 lead in the second set, but Occidental tallied the next six points to take a 10-7 advantage. Three of the six points in the run were scored on kills by Rose.

The Tigers extended the margin to six points, 14-8, with Stephanie Gann providing the 14th point on a service ace. Willamette gradually rallied and cut the lead to 21-20 following back-to-back attacking errors by the Tigers.

Rose registered a kill and Reed put down an attack for WU, as Occidental's lead changed to 22-21. A kill and an ace from Rose brought OC to match point and a kill by Michels ended the set.

Occidental held a 7-5 lead in the third set before the Tigers used a 5-1 run to attain a 12-6 margin. WU got as close as three points at 12-9 and 15-12, but Occidental won three of the next four rallies for an 18-13 lead.

The Bearcats started to charge back and trailed just 18-16 after a service ace by Glenn. The next two points went to the Tigers and then Willamette tallied four points in a row, including two kills from Leenstra and a service ace by Compton.

Willamette was unable to keep its momentum, as the Tigers closed out the set with a 5-0 run to win 25-20. The final surge was started by Rose, who achieved her final two kills of the match to open the decisive run.

Occidental hit .169 for the match with 42 kills. Willamette finished with a .142 hitting percentage and 35 kills. The Tigers earned 10 service aces and had 72 digs, while the Bearcats produced five aces and recorded 65 digs.

Willamette will play at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Ore., on Tuesday, Sept. 4. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Occidental College 3
Willamette University 0
Occidental won 26-24, 25-21, 25-20

Madisyn Leenstra led Willamette with 12 kills against the Tigers. She also earned 10 digs.

Madisyn Leenstra led Willamette with 12 kills against the Tigers. She also earned 10 digs.