Bearcats Sweep Pioneers, 25-22, 25-17, 25-14

Willamette Pounds out 40 Kills, Earns .333 team Hitting Percentage

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University received five or more kills from five players, and the Bearcats achieved a .333 team hitting percentage, on their way to a 3-0 sweep of visiting Lewis & Clark College in a Northwest Conference volleyball match on Friday, Oct. 2. Willamette finished with 40 kills during the match at Cone Field House.

The Bearcats moved to 8-14 overall, 6-9 in the NWC. Lewis & Clark dropped to 6-18 overall, including 2-13 in the NWC.

Leading the attack were Danica Reed (Sr., OH, Arvada, CO/Ralston Valley HS) and Carly Hargrave (Jr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS), as both players achieved eight kills. Madisyn Leenstra (Sr., OH/MH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) and Shannon Waltz (Jr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra HS) added six kills each.

Kirsten Brehmer (Jr., MH/OPP, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS) tacked on five kills for the Bearcats. Junior setter Emily Compton (Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) also contributed to the successful offensive efforts, as she supplied 33 assists for an average of 11.0 assists per set.

Willamette amassed 48 digs, as Brehmer leading the defensive charge with 15 digs and Reed produced 11. The Bearcats also recorded 8.0 team total blocks, led by Waltz with four block assists.

Jennifer Dowdy led Lewis & Clark with 10 kills. Brigitte Russo provided the Pioneers with eight kills, and Elana Hoff earned 12 digs. L&C registered just 29 kills and hit .055 for the match.

In the first set, WU surged out to a 6-2 lead. The Pioneers scored the next four points, but the Bearcats answered with a 5-1 run. The run included one kill each from Waltz and Leenstra, and ended with a service ace by Reed.

Lewis & Clark pulled within 12-10 on a kill by Dowdy. WU built a 17-13 lead, but three rallies for the Pioneers cut the margin to a single point. The teams exchanged side-outs over the next four points, leaving WU with a 19-18 edge.

The Bearcats ran off back-to-back points on kills by Hargrave and Elisa Ahern (So., OPP, Lake Forest Park, WA/Shorecrest HS) for a 21-18 margin. L&C countered with a 3-0 run ending with a kill from Russo to tie the score. Three rallied later, WU held a 23-22 advantage.

On the ensuing rally, Hargrave pounded a kill from the middle of the net that officials ruled was touched by a defender before deflecting out of bounds. L&C Head Coach Lori Jepsen argued that the ball wasn't touched, but officials maintained the call. WU led 24-22, and won the set on a ball-handling error by Leia Matsunaga of L&C on the next point.

Willamette used one big run in the second set and two solid runs in the third set to register the 3-0 sweep.

In set #2, the Bearcats extended a 9-8 lead with a 10-0 run to pull away. After earning a side-out on a kill from Leenstra, the Bearcats benefited from solid serving by Kathy Lee Glenn (Sr., DS/LIB, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) over the next nine points.

Glenn earned one service ace, but also forced the Pioneers to struggle with her serves. The result was a string of plays in which L&C produced week attacks or had to dump the ball over the net. Willamette responded with seven kills during the final nine points of the run. The Pioneers were unable to recover and Willamette won the set 25-17.

L&C took a 4-3 lead at the start of set #3, but Willamette countered with an 8-0 run that gave the Bearcats an 11-4 advantage. This time it was Brehmer who served during the final seven points of the run. Her serves set the stage for three combo blocks by the Bearcats, plus three additional hitting errors by the Pioneers.

A bit later in the set, WU held a 16-10 advantage following a kill by Russo. The Bearcats tacked on the next four points to achieve a 20-10 margin. Willamette went on to win the set, 25-14.

Willamette will close out the season on Saturday, Nov. 3, when the Bearcats host NWC rival George Fox University. Match time is set for 7 p.m. (PDT) at Cone Field House. Following the game, WU will honor the four seniors on the Bearcats' roster.


Willamette University 3
Lewis & Clark College 0
Willamette won 25-22, 25-17, 25-14

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

In addition to sending this attack over the block, setter Emily Compton supplied the Bearcats with 33 assists.

In addition to sending this attack over the block, setter Emily Compton supplied the Bearcats with 33 assists.

Some of the fans formed a tunnel for the players to run through following Willamette's win over the Pioneers.

Some of the fans formed a tunnel for the players to run through following Willamette's win over the Pioneers.