Willamette Rallies with Three Sets in a Row, Downs #10 Puget Sound, 3-2

Leenstra Hits 15 Kills, Hargrave Adds 10 Kills

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

SALEM, ORE. -- After falling behind by two sets against #10-ranked University of Puget Sound, the Willamette University volleyball team played with increased intensity and consistency in the final three sets, as the Bearcats rallied past the Loggers, 3-2, at Cone Field House on Friday, Sept. 28. The Northwest Conference victory improved WU to 3-9 overall, 1-4 in the NWC.

Puget Sound, which entered the match ranked #10 in this week's NCAA Division III Poll released by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), fell to 9-3 on the season. The Loggers dropped to 4-1 in the NWC.

Senior outside hitter Madisyn Leenstra (Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) and junior middle hitter Carly Hargrave (Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) led the way. They combined for 25 kills and just one attacking error.

Leenstra registered a match-high 15 kills with only one attacking error, while hitting .250. Hargrave finished with 10 kills, no attacking errors and a .303 hitting percentage.

Puget Sound concluded the night with three players in double digits for kills. Jackie Harvey topped the Loggers with 13 kills, while Marissa Florant amassed 11 kills and Nicolette Reynaud added 10. Reynaud hit .500 for the Loggers with just two attacking errors on 16 total attacks.

The Loggers won a close set to open the match. UPS held a 5-3 lead after eight points, and the teams stayed within two points of each other for most of the set. Willamette led 10-9 after a kill by Hargrave and also held a 13-11 lead after an attacking error by the Loggers.

Willamette owned a 3-point advantage at 16-13 following a kill by Mandara Hogarth (Fr., OH, West Covina, CA/St. Lucy's Priory HS). UPS countered with a 6-3 run to tie the score at 19-19. Kills by Leenstra and Nicole Mertens (SR., OH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) gave WU a 21-19 edge.

The Loggers recovered with a 5-0 run for a 24-21 lead. Kristin Best and Florant each had two kills during the run. An attacking error by UPS gave Willamette a point before the Loggers won the set on a blocking error by the Bearcats.

Puget Sound surged out to a 9-1 lead in the second set and claimed an easy 25-9 win. The Loggers earned 12 kills and a .423 hitting percentage during the set, while Willamette had just seven kills with a .000 hitting percentage. UPS also registered four service aces.

When the teams returned for the third set, the result was quite different.

Willamette took a slim 2-1 lead on the first three rallies. Shannon Waltz (Jr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra HS) then served for WU and continued to serve 16 consecutive times. The first 15 resulted in points for the Bearcats, including five aces. Willamette led 17-1 before her 16th serve went out of bounds.

The Bearcats continued to maintain a large lead in the set and won 25-7.

In the fourth set, WU moved out to a 7-1 advantage. Puget Sound cut the lead to 8-6 following a 5-1 run. The Bearcats responded with a 4-1 run for a 12-7 lead. UPS tied the score at 13-13 seven rallies later on a kill by Harvey.

The Loggers eventually led 18-15 after a kill by Best, and later owned a 21-18 margin.

Willamette replied with three consecutive kills to tie the set. Mertens recorded the first kill, while Danica Reed (Sr., OH, Arvada, CO/Ralston Valley HS) added the other two kills.

UPS and WU alternated the next four points with the Bearcats countering a score by the Loggers both times. With the score tied at 23-23, Reed tacked on another kill to give Willamette a set-point. The Bearcats won 25-23 on an attacking error by the Loggers.

The fifth set began with a 6-0 run by the Bearcats. After gaining a side-out to open the set, Willamette responded to the serving of Waltz by tallying five additional points. The run included two kills by Hargrave and one service ace by Waltz. WU also held four leads of five points between 7-2 and 10-5.

Puget Sound rallied using a 6-0 outburst of its won to claim an 11-10 advantage. Florant started the run with a kill and was the server for the next five rallies. Harvey tallied back-to-back kills to complete the run.

Waltz earned a key kill for the Bearcats to achieve an 11-11 tie. Leenstra added a kill for a 12-11 margin, but Harvey registered a kill for the Loggers to force another tie. Leenstra contributed a kill, giving WU a 13-12 lead.

Appropriately enough, the match ended with Waltz serving. First, she earned an ace to pull Willamette to match-point. On the next serve, Willamette received a block from Hargrave and Emily Compton (Jr., S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) to reject an attack by Harvey and record the final point, as WU won 15-12.

In addition to the kill leaders, top players for WU were Waltz, who's nine aces helped swing the match, Mertens who earned seven kills and 20 digs, and Reed, who finished with six kills and 17 digs. Compton achieved 39 assists and 11 digs, while Lizzy Balding (Jr., LIB/DS, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) recorded 18 digs. Hargrave led WU with six total blocks.

Jenni Brehove provided UPS with 40 assists and 20 digs. Christina Chun, the Loggers' libero, registered 26 digs, while Florant tacked on 23 digs.

Puget Sound held a 57-47 advantage in kills and a 107-87 margin i digs, but Willamette had 11 service aces, while the Loggers were credited with six aces.

Willamette will remain at home to take on 18th-ranked Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Sept. 29. Match time at Cone Field House is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PDT).

Willamette University 3
University of Puget Sound 2
Willamette won 22-25, 9-25, 25-7, 25-23, 15-12
Madisyn Leenstra led Willamette with 15 kills as the Bearcats upset #10-ranked Puget Sound.

Madisyn Leenstra led Willamette with 15 kills as the Bearcats upset #10-ranked Puget Sound.