Bearcats End First Day of Star Classic with Win Over Lakeland

Host Dominican Defeats Willamette 3-2 in Opening Match

By Brandon Chinn, Athletics Communications Writer

RIVER FOREST, ILL. -- After losing a match in five sets to Dominican University (Ill.) earlier in the afternoon, Willamette University bounced back to defeat Lakeland College (Wis.) at the 2012 Star Classic in River Forest, Ill., on Friday, Sept. 8. Willamette defeated Lakeland in three sets, 25-13, 25-13, 25-23.

With a split on the day, Willamette's record now stands at 1-3. Dominican, which defeated WU, 23-25, 25-21, 25-17, 24-26, 15-13, improved to 3-2, while Lakeland fell to 5-1 on the season.

After falling behind early in the first set 4-0 to host Dominican, Willamette battled back to eventually tie the set at 19 points. Clinging to a 24-23 lead, Madisyn Leenstra (Sr., MH/OH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) recorded the set-winning kill as the Bearcats won 25-23.

In the second set, Willamette jumped out to an early 7-2 lead. Dominican answered back with a 7-2 run of its own, tying the set at nine points apiece. Later tied at 14, the Stars scored four unanswered points on their way to a 25-21 victory.

Willamette fell behind in the third set and was unable to recover. A kill by Nicole Mertens (Sr. OH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) pulled the Bearcats within three points at 12-9, but Dominican extended its lead to as many as eight points before winning the set 25-17.

Needing a win to force a decisive fifth set, the Bearcats found themselves trailing 17-13. Willamette then scored three consecutive points -- thanks in part to two service aces by Reed -- to cut the lead to 17-16. Later WU trailed 22-19, but the Bearcats once again battled back, eventually tying the game at 22 on a kill by Leenstra.

Down 24-22 with their backs against the wall, the Bearcats rallied to score four straight points in a 26-24 win.

In the fifth set, Willamette obtained a 12-9 lead. Dominican went on a run with five consecutive points to take a 14-12 lead and went on to take the match, winning the final set 15-13.

Claire Dezelski recorded a match-high 22 kills to lead the Stars. Jessica Guerrieri added 50 assists while Liz Yakey contributed 26 digs.

Leenstra led the Bearcats with 15 kills, while Danica Reed (Sr., OH, Arvada, CO/Ralston Valley HS) and Carly Hargrave (Jr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) both tacked on 9 kills. Kathy Lee Glenn (Sr., LIB/DS, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) contributed 32 digs and setter Emily Compton (Jr., Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) registered 37 assists.

The Bearcats bounced back to sweep Lakeland College in three sets in their second match of the day.

After surrendering the set's first point, Hargrave and Mertens combined for five consecutive kills as Willamette notched the next eight points to take a commanding lead. Several rallies later, a kill by Leenstra extended Willamette's advantage to 18-4, as the Bearcats cruised to a 25-13 victory in the opening set.

The second set was more of the same as WU rolled to an easy 25-13 victory. Reed produced four kills early on to help provide Willamette take a 9-5 lead. The Bearcats stretched the margin to as many as 12 on a Hargrave kill for the final point of the set.

Seeking a sweep, Willamette found itself in a 16-16 tie midway through the third set. After falling behind 19-16, the Bearcats notched four of the next five points to pull even at 20-20. With the set tied at 22-22, Willamette received timely kills by Hargrave, Reed and Leenstra to seal the 25-23 victory.

Reed led the Bearcats with a season-high 16 kills, while Hargrave supplied 9 kills and 4 blocks. Compton recorded a match-high 34 assists.

Willamette will resume play in the 2012 Star Classic on Saturday, Sept. 8 when the Bearcats take on Greenville University (Ill.) at 10 a.m. CDT/8 a.m. PDT. WU will conclude the tournament by competing in the championship match or the consolation match, also on Saturday.


Dominican University 3
Willamette University 2
Dominican won, 23-25, 25-21, 25-17, 24-26, 15-13

Willamette University 3
Lakeland College 0
Willamette won 25-13, 25-13, 25-23

Senior Outside Hitter Danica Reed produced 16 kills in the Bearcats 3 set sweep over Lakeland.

Senior Outside Hitter Danica Reed produced 16 kills in the Bearcats 3 set sweep over Lakeland.