Review staff writer
After a tough season start, losing the first two games of the Northwest Conference, the volleyball team turned its luck around with two dominating performances.
Linfield faced off against Lewis & Clark College on Sept. 26 and Willamette University on Sept. 27.
Linfield won three straight sets against Lewis & Clark, with scores of 25-22, 25-14 and 25-17. During the first set, the Wildcats took a demanding lead of 10-1. The Pioneers then rallied to tie the game up at 22 points each.
Linfield then pulled away by scoring three consecutive points with the help of junior middle blocker Emily Vuylsteke, who closed the match with one of her six kills of the set.
The ’Cats went on to take the next set by maintaining a comfortable lead over the Pioneers. This put the Wildcats up 2-0 in the game, and they wasted no time in closing the deal by winning the final set.
After the teams were tied at 11 points, Linfield was able to break away and went on to win by an eight-point margin.
The Wildcats showed their precision, having four players with double-digit
dig totals. Junior setter Samantha Purser had 31 assists at the end of the night, and senior outside hitter Kelsey French had a game-high 17 digs. Freshman outside hitter Samantha Lau, senior defensive specialist Rachel Rahn and Purser all had at least 10 kills.
The Wildcats intended to carry the momentum from Friday night’s game to the game against Willamette. The Wildcats took the first set by gaining a comfortable lead, 10-2.
Willamette was able to close the margin to only five points, though they were never able to catch up or put pressure on Linfield. The Wildcats won the set 25-17.
Linfield took an early lead in the second set, 12-3, and broke away to win 25-10.
The Bearcats played with precision and poise in the third set and took a 17-3 lead over Linfield.The Wildcats rallied on to tie the game at 18-18.
Lau helped the lead with a go-ahead kill, giving Linfield the victory. They won the set 25-21.
That night, Linfield converted .422 of its attacks and had a success rate of .400 or higher in each set.
Purser had 48 assists while French had 10 kills and 13 digs. Vuylsteke had 13 kills, and Lau had 17 kills.
“We had a tough start to the Northwest Conference and played some tough competition, though the team realized that they are beatable and this team has potential to be a contender for the conference championship,” Lau said. “We are looking to take the momentum from this weekend onto our next games.”
The ’Cats take on George Fox University tonight at 7 p.m. in Newberg. They compete against Pacific University on Oct. 4 in Ted Wilson Gymnasium.