Bearcats Force Fifth Set, but Linfield Wins Match, 3-2

Leenstra Achieves 22 Kills, Hargrave Adds 14 for Willamette

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Willamette University forced a fifth set with a powerful 25-12 win the fourth set, but Linfield College prevailed in the decisive set, as the Wildcats defeated the Bearcats, 3-2, in the Northwest Conference opener for both teams on Friday, Sept. 14. Linfield advanced its record to 6-2 overall, 1-0 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 2-6 on the season, 0-1 in the NWC.

Madisyn Leenstra (Sr., MH/OH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) of Willamette led all players with 22 kills on the night. She also contributed a .259 hitting percentage and had three block assists. Carly Hargrave (Jr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) provided the Bearcats with 14 kills, hit .303 and added three block assists.

WU's libero, Kathy Lee Glenn (Sr., LIB/DS, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) registered a match-high 39 digs for the Bearcats. She finished just four digs away from Willamette's all-time record of 43 digs, set by Roni Schneider vs. Gustavus Adolphus in 2005.

Ritte-Camara Kailana topped Linfield with 13 kills and also supplied the Wildcats with 18 digs. Kelsey Ludin and Victoria Thompson added 11 kills apiece. Courtney Wanamaker earned 21 digs.

The fifth set began with the teams earning ties at five of the first six point totals, culminating in a 6-6 tie after 12 rallies. Linfield gained a slight edge at 7-6 on a service ace by Leimomi Hookano.

Linfield also led 8-6 and 9-7 before Willamette went on a 3-0 run to take a 10-9 advantage. A kill by Leenstra and two attacking errors by Linfield created the run.

The Wildcats tied the set for the sixth time at 10-10 on a kill by Victoria Thompson. Linfield scored four of the next five points for a 14-11 lead. A combo block by Hargrave and Nicole Mertens (Sr., OH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) of Willamette kept the Bearcats alive for one more play, but Hookano ended the match with a kill for the Wildcats.

Linfield rallied from an 8-3 deficit in the first set to claim a 25-19 win.

Leenstra completed Willamette's early surge with two kills in a row, starting her on her way to six kills in the set. The Wildcats eventually tied the score at 10-10. WU and Linfield also were tied a bit later at 15-15, before the Wildcats ran off three points to start a 7-1 run for a 22-16 lead. WU tallied the next point, but couldn't get any closer.

Willamette took the second set, 25-23. The Bearcats built an 11-6 edge on the scoreboard and also led 19-14. Linfield put together a rally that reduced the lead to 20-17on an attacking error by the Bearcats. Seven plays later, a service ace by Wanamaker reduced Willamette's lead to a single point, 22-21.

Danica Ree (Sr., OH, Arvada, CO/Ralston Valley HS) gave WU a two-point cushion with a kill, but Linfeld evened things up two rallies later at 23-23. A kill by Leenstra and an attacking error by the Wildcats allowed WU to close out the set. The Bearcats attained a mach-high for either team with 15 kills during the set.

In the third set, Linfield recorded its second 25-19 win of the evening. Willamette was in front, 12-10, following a kill by Leenstra. The Wildcats earned the next five points to set off a 10-2 run and take a 20-14 lead. WU reduced the margin to 20-17 with three points in a row, but Linfield answered with its own trio of points to stop the momentum.

The Bearcats pushed out to a 6-2 margin in the fourth set on the strength of five kills, including three by Hargrave. WU continued to surge forward, taking leads of 14-6 and 18-8 before achieving a 25-12 win to force the fifth set.

Although the statistics were close enough to suggest a very close match, Willamette held several statistical leads despite losing. The Bearcats earned a 58-53 advantage in kills and a .146 to .129 margin in hitting percentage. WU also owned a 105-102 advantage in digs, plus 10 team total blocks, compared to eight blocks for Linfield.

The Wildcats did claim an edge in aces and serving errors. Linfield produced six aces and had five serving errors. Willamette finished with three aces and 10 serving errors.

Willamette setter Emily Compton (Jr., S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) amassed 43 assists. Audrey Frazier, Linfield's setter, recorded 36 assists.

Up next on the schedule for Willamette is the first home match of the season, as the Bearcats will host Pacific University on Saturday, Sept. 14 in Salem, Ore. Match time at Cone Field House is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).

Linfield College 3
Willamette University 2
Linfield won 25-19, 23-25, 25-19, 12-25, 15-12
Madisyn Leenstra registered 22 kills to lead the Willamette attack against the Wildcats.

Madisyn Leenstra registered 22 kills to lead the Willamette attack against the Wildcats.