Bearcats Fall to Boxers in Five Sets

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University volleyball team won two of the first three sets against Northwest Conference rival Pacific University on Saturday, Sept. 15, but the Boxers won the final two sets for a 3-2 win over the Bearcats. Pacific claimed the victory, 23-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11.

Pacific improved to 2-7 overall, 2-0 in the NWC. Willamette dropped to 2-7 on the season, including 0-2 in the NWC.

Marie Rewick from Pacific led all players with 21 kills. Alexa Block added 19 kills for the Boxers, while Mariah McHolland tacked on 14 kills. Mandara Hogarth (Fr., OH, West Covina, CA/St. Lucy's Priory High School) topped Willamette with 11 kills.

Willamette opened the match with leads of 4-1 and 12-9 in the first set. Pacific scored the next two points and eventually took a 15-14 advantage on a kill by Block. A bit later, Hannah Herbert supplied the Boxers with a kill to tie the set at 18-18.

The Bearcats surged into the lead at 21-18 by registering three consecutive points -- all on kills by senior Madisyn Leenstra (Sr., MH/OH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS). Willamette held a 23-19 margin three plays later.

Pacific tallied the next four points to tie the set at 23-23. Block provided two of the points on kills assisted by Emily Farnham.

Danica Reed (Sr., OH, Arvada, CO/Ralston Valley HS) registered a kill to give WU a 24-23 lead. Carly Hargrave (Jr., MH, Happy Valley, CA/Clackamas HS) also recorded a kill, as WU won the first set.

A string of serves by Tiana Greenhalgh of Pacific gave the Boxers a huge lead in the second set. Pacific held only a 4-3 margin before Greenhalgh served, but scored the next 10 points for a 14-4 advantage. Greenhalgh earned three service aces during the run.

Willamette trailed 20-8 before the Bearcats rallied to cut the deficit to 24-19. The 11-4 run included three kills by Hogarth, two from Taylor Gee and one each by Elisa Ahern and Alyssa Workman. Renick followed with a kill, as the Boxers won the set.

Pacific owned a 16-9 margin in the third set, but Willamette rallied for a 25-22 win.

The Bearcats battled back to tie the score at 21-21 on a misplay by the Boxers. The teams split the next two points, leaving the score tied at 22-22. An attacking error by Rewick, plus kills from Shannon Waltz (Jr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra High School) and Nicole Mertens (Sr., OH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) provided WU with the win and a 2-1 lead in sets.

The fourth set was won by the Boxers. Pacific surged out to a 10-3 advantage, but Willamette rallied, eventually tying the score at 17-17. Five more ties resulted in a deadlock at 22-22. The next three points went to the Boxers for a 25-22 win.

Pacific held a slim 6-5 lead in the final set before using a 6-1 run to build a 12-6 advantage. WU got back within three points at 13-10 and 14-11. Block recorded a kill for Pacific to end the match.

Hogarth was the only Bearcat with double-digit kills, but Reed and Waltz each finished with nine, and Leenstra earned eight. Emily Compton (Sr., S, Portola, CA/Portola HS)/Boise State Univ.) registered 35 assists and had nine digs.

Elizabeth Baldwin (Jr., LIB/DS, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) led the Bearcats with 11 digs. Kirsten Brehmer (Jr., MH/OPP, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS) recorded five block assists.

Becky Sheller of Pacific topped all players with 32 digs. Emily Farnham supplied the Boxers with 56 assists and 18 digs, while Mariah McHolland earned six total blocks.

Willamette will play road games at Whitman College and Whitworth University next weekend. The Bearcats will take on Whitman on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m., before playing Whitworth on Sunday, Sept. 22  at 7 p.m.

BOX SCORE

Pacific University 3
Willamette University 2
Pacific won 23-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11

Photo gallery
(By Naomi Stukey, Photographer for Willamette Athletics)

Shannon Waltz contributed nine kills and four total blocks for the Bearcats.

Shannon Waltz contributed nine kills and four total blocks for the Bearcats.