Willamette Takes 14th-Ranked PLU to the Limit, but Lutes Win, 3-2

Fincher Earns 19 Kills; Compton Provides Nine Kills and 21 Digs

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

PARKLAND, WASH. -- Willamette University won the opening two sets against Pacific Lutheran University, ranked #14 in this week's NCAA Division III Poll, but the Lutes rallied to claim the final three sets for a 3-2 victory over the Bearcats in a Northwest Conference volleyball match on Saturday, Oct. 26. The Lutes won, 27-29, 19-25, 25-11, 25-11, 15-12.

The Bearcats overcame a 9-6 deficit in the fifth set to pull within a single point five times between 9-8 and 13-12, but couldn't tie the score. The Lutes completed the win with a kill by Amy Wooten and an attacking error by Willamette.

PLU upped its record to 15-5 on the season, 11-1 in the NWC. Willamette dropped to 8-13 overall, 4-8 in the NWC.

Sarah Fincher (So., OH, Reno, NV/Bishop Manogue HS/Southwest Baptist Univ.) led the Bearcats with 19 kills and added 14 digs. Lindsey Compton (So., OH/S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Univ. of Hartford) provided WU with nine kills and a team-high 21 digs.

Carly Hargrave (Sr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) and Shannon Waltz (Sr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra School for Girls) each earned seven kills for the Bearcats. WU setter Emily Compton (Sr., S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) finished with an even 50 assists, for 10.0 assists per set.

The Lutes placed five attackers in double figures for kills. Lucy Capron led the way with 15 kills, while Bethany Huston provided 14 and Amy Wooten amassed 12. Allison Wood with 11 kills and Chelsea Nelson with 10 also reached double digits. Setter Samantha North accumulated 65 assists, while Amber Aguiar registered 29 digs and Capron finished with 20 digs.

Willamette won an extended first set at 29-27 after the team fought to 18 ties and four lead changes. WU attained the first set point at 24-23, but the Lutes won the next point on a combo block by Huston and North. The Bearcats also led 25-24, but a kill by Haley Urdahl and a service ace by North gave PLU a 26-25 advantage.

Back-to-back kills supplied by Fincher resulted in a 27-26 edge for the Bearcats. Huston earned a kill to tie the score, but committed a hitting error during the next rally. Hargrave pounded home a kill to end the set in WU's favor.

The second set was tied four times during the first 14 points, but Willamette took an 8-7 lead on a kill by Lindsey Compton and remained in front. The kill by Compton opened a 9-4 run that gave the Bearcats a 16-11 advantage. PLU got as close as 17-15, but WU tallied the next three points on its way to a 25-19 win. PLU hit just .068 during the set.

Following the intermission between the second and third sets, the Lutes found success on the attack. PLU hit over .400 in each of the final three sets, including .459 with 18 kills in the fourth set.

The Lutes held a slim 10-9 lead in the third set, but scored the next 10 points, including one service ace and five kills. WU managed just two more points, as PLU prevailed 25-11. In the fourth set, the Lutes took a 7-2 lead and cruised to another 25-11 win.

Fincher began the fifth set with a kill for Willamette. The Bearcats also led 2-1, before PLU strung together a 5-1 run to claim a 6-3 advantage.

Three rallies later, Hargrave achieved a kill to pull WU within 7-5. After the Lutes built a 9-6 lead, a kill by Hargrave and an attacking error by PLU cut the margin to 9-8. Despite creating three more kills during the set, the Bearcats were unable to catch Pacific Lutheran before falling 15-12.

Willamette has now played in eight 5-set matches this season. The Bearcats are 3-5 in those matches, including 1-5 in NWC action.

Up next for the Bearcats is a match at Lewis & Clark College on Wednesday, Oct. 30. The start time in Portland, Ore., is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Pacific Lutheran University 3
Willamette University 2
PLU won 27-29, 19-25, 25-11, 25-11, 15-12

Lindsey Compton achieved nine kills and a team-high 21 digs in Saturday's match at Pacific Lutheran.

Lindsey Compton achieved nine kills and a team-high 21 digs in Saturday's match at Pacific Lutheran.