Puget Sound Defeats Bearcats in Three Close Sets, 26-24, 25-23, 25-23

Ahern Leads Bearcats with 12 kills; Hargrave Adds 9 Kills and Hits .421

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

TACOMA, WASH. -- Willamette University, which upset the University of Puget Sound, 3-2, in Salem, Ore., on Sept. 28, battled the Loggers once again on Friday, Oct. 26. The Bearcats almost defeated the nationally ranked Loggers in each set, but 10 serving errors by Willamette and six service aces for Puget Sound led to a 26-24, 25-23, 25-23 win for UPS.

Puget Sound improved to 16-5 overall, 10-3 in the Northwest Conference. The Loggers are ranked #14 in this week's NCAA Division III Poll released by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Willamette fell to 7-13 overall, 5-8 in the NWC.

Jackie Harvey led Puget Sound with a match-high 13 kills. She also earned 17 digs for the Loggers. Nicolette Reynaud and Danielle Westerman provided UPS with seven kills apiece., while Christina Chun contributed 22 digs. Jenni Brehove supplied 32 assists.

Willamette's Elisa Ahern (So., OPP, Lake Forest Park, WA/Shorecrest HS) produced 12 kills and 10 digs, as she recorded her first double-double of the year in her fourth start. Carly Hargrave (Jr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) tacked on nine kills and made just one attacking error, while earning a .421 hitting percentage. Hargrave registered two block assists.

Shannon Waltz (Jr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra HS) finished with seven kills for the Bearcats, while hitting .278. Lizzy Balding (Jr., Honolulu, HI/Punahou School), Willamette's libero, led all players with 23 digs. Setter Emily Compton (Jr., Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) accumulated 37 assists.

Willamette recorded 44 kills compared to 39 kills for the Loggers. The Bearcats earned a team hitting percentage of .154, while Puget Sound ended the match hitting .141. WU also achieved a 75-71 advantage in digs.

Serving and blocking made the difference for Puget Sound. In addition to earning six service aces, the Loggers made only four serving errors. On defense, UPS was credited with 7.0 team total blocks. Willamette relinquished eight points on its serve, as the Bearcats earned just two service aces to offset 10 serving errors. The WU defense supplied 4.0 team total blocks.

UPS scored the first point of the opening set, but Willamette answered with a 7-1 run for an early lead. The run ended with three consecutive kill -- one each by Waltz, Danica Reed (Sr., Arvada, CO/Ralston Valley HS) and Ahern.

The Bearcats enjoyed an 13-8 lead later in the set following an attacking error by the Loggers. Puget Sound went on a 12-3 run to surge into a 4-point advantage at 20-16.

Puget Sound also led 22-18, but Willamette rallied, eventually tying the score at 22-22 on a kill by Madisyn Leenstra (Sr., OH/MH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS), two hitting errors by UPS and a combo block from  Leenstra and Hargrave. The teams were tied again at 23-23, but WU moved in front on an attacking error by Marissa Florant of the Loggers.

UPS tallied the final three points of the set on a kill by Best, a kill by Florant and a service ace by Chun for a 26-24 win.

In the second set, Puget Sound developed a 10-6 lead, only to have WU tie the game at 11-11 and eventually move in front 14-13. The set was close the rest of the way, with neither team leading by more than two points. UPS held a 19-18 advantage, but the Bearcats won the next two points on attacks from Nicole Mertens (Sr., OH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) and Ahern.

The Loggers tied the score at 20-20 and then WU tacked on two more points. An attacking miscue by UPS provided the first point and a kill by Hargrave resulted in the second point for a 22-20 lead. Service errors by both teams led WU with a 23-21 edge.

Puget Sound closed out the set with four consecutive points to rally for a 25-23 win. A service ace by Jalene Toy completed the run.

The teams were close together on the scoreboard for most of the third set. Willamette managed to build a 19-15 lead with a 5-0 run that included kills by Compton and Leenstra, plus a service ace by Waltz. UPS countered with a 7-3 surge of its own that tied the set at 22-22.

A service ace by Karly Edwards and a combo block by Reynaud and Brehove gave Puget Sound a 24-22 lead. Waltz registered a kill for Willamette before Florant ended the match with a kill for the Loggers.

Willamette will take on #15 ranked Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Oct. 27 in Tacoma, Wash. Match time is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

University of Puget Sound 3
Willamette University 0
Puget Sound won 26-24,25-25, 25-23

Carly Hargrave achieved nine kills and made just one attacking error, while hitting .421 for the Bearcats. She also earned two block assists.

Carly Hargrave achieved nine kills and made just one attacking error, while hitting .421 for the Bearcats. She also earned two block assists.