Bearcats Overtake George Fox 3-2 as Fincher Earns 21 Kills, Waltz Adds 20

Willamette Surges into Fourth Place in Final NWC Standings

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

NEWBERG, ORE. -- Willamette University rallied from a 2-1 deficit after three sets to claim a 3-2 victory over George Fox University in a Northwest Conference volleyball match on Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Wheeler Sports Center. Willamette prevailed 25-16, 23-25, 19-25, 25-10, 15-10.

Willamette ended the season with a 12-13 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the NWC. The win gave the Bearcats their fourth consecutive victory and seventh triumph in the last nine matches, as Willamette surged into fourth place in the final NWC standings. George Fox dropped to 12-12 overall, 7-9 in the NWC.

Sarah Fincher (So., OH, Reno, NV/Bishop Manogue HS/Southwest Baptist Univ.) provided Willamette with 21 kills and a .381 hitting percentage, while Shannon Waltz (Sr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra School for Girls) added 20 kills and hit .514.

WU setter Emily Compton (Sr., Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) achieved 63 assists, while libero Lizzy Balding (Sr., Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) recorded 20 digs.

Erin Campbell topped George Fox with 19 kills and a .277 hitting percentage. Chelsea Wilson led all players with 30 digs for the Bruins, while Payton Shrum earned 46 assists.

The Bearcats trailed 3-1 early in the first set, but scored the next five points and maintained the lead for a 25-16 win. Fincher registered six kills during the set on nine total attacks.

In the second set, the teams combined for 13 ties and seven lead changes. WU led 5-2, but George Fox answered with a 3-0 run to achieve the first tie of the set. Later, the Bearcats took a 14-11 lead on a kill by Lindsey Compton (So., OH/S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Univ. of Hartford).

GFU tallied the next three points for a 14-14 tie. The score was tied after every two rallies up to 20-20. That's when the Bruins recorded three consecutive points on a kill by Jessica Malchow and back-to-back blocks by Malchow and Erin Sprowls. WU answered with three straight points for a 23-23 tie on a kill from Lindsey Compton and two kills by Waltz.

The Bruins won the set 25-23 after Campbell landed a kill and Willamette committed a setting error. Campbell earned seven kills during the set.

Campbell added six kills in the third set, and GFU limited the Bearcats to a .078 hitting percentage, as the Bruins won 25-19. WU trailed by just two points at 19-17, but was unable to get any closer.

After a 2-2 tie early in the fourth set, the Bearcats took charge of the match. They picked up the next six points for an 8-2 lead, and were in front 14-6 following a kill by Carly Hargrave (Sr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS).

A block by GFU six points later pulled the Bruins within 16-10, but Willamette responded with nine consecutive points. The final eight points of the run were earned behind the serving of Emily Compton. The string of points included three service aces by Compton. Fincher, who started the run with a kill for a side-out, added two more kills while Compton served. WU won the set, 25-10.

Willamette zoomed out to a 5-2 lead in the fifth set and held the lead the rest of the way. The Bruins were within two points at 8-6, before the Bearcats used three consecutive kills to build an 11-6 advantage. WU won the set 15-10 with the final point provided by Lindsey Compton on and assist from Emily Compton.

The win completed a 2-0 weekend for the Bearcats, who rolled past #18-ranked University of Puget Sound on Friday in straight sets, 3-0.

During the two matches, Willamette achieved a .307 team hitting percentage and held the opponents to a .154 hitting percentage. Fincher amassed 38 kills for 4.75 kills per set, and hit .456. Waltz provided 25 kills (3.12 avg.) and hit a team-high .479. Emily Compton attained 105 assists for an impressive average of 13.1 assists per set.

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 3
George Fox University 2
WU won 25-16, 23-25, 19-25, 25-10, 15-10

Sarah Fincher pounded out 21 kills for the Bearcats. She earned 11 digs and had two service aces.

Sarah Fincher pounded out 21 kills for the Bearcats. She earned 11 digs and had two service aces.