The volleyball team continued a losing streak this week, but there were noticeable improvements in its most recent matches.
The Wildcats lost matches against Whitman College and Whitworth University. The losses moved the Wildcats to 6-8 in NWC play. They are still in fourth place.
On Oct. 29, Linfield traveled to Walla Walla, Wash. to take on Whitman. The Wildcats came out strong in the first match. They pulled ahead 18-10 and never gave up their eight-point lead. They won the game 25-17.
Game two might have been the closest of the matches. Neither team held more then a two-point lead. With the score tied at 23, Whitman scored two quick points to win the game 25-23.
Whitman continued their momentum into the third game winning 25-18.
In the fourth match, the Wildcats showed their fight. Whitman had two chances to win the match leading 25-24 and 26-25. Each time, however, Linfield fought and won the match 28-26, forcing a fifth and final game.
The match was back-and-forth at the beginning, but Whitman won 15-12 in the end.
Coach Shane Kimura was pleased to see the drive in the team.
“We played well in game one and inconsistent in two and three,” he said. “But we played really hard in game four and came back. The kids battled and pulled it out.”
During the match, junior libero Samantha Lau set the season and career dig record. Lau, broke her career record by recording her 1,236th dig. Kimura pointed out that it is impressive that it only took Lau three years to reach this accomplishment.
“She is a great defensive player that keeps a lot of balls in play,” he said. “To break the record in three years: That is a pretty great accomplishment.”
Lau and the rest of the team turned their attention to the Whitworth Pirates. The first two matches were extremely close. In game one, neither team was ahead by more than three points at any moment. In the end, Whitworth held a three-point lead and won the game 25-22.
In the second game, the Pirates jumped to a 21-14 lead and appeared to have the game won. Linfield fought back valiantly, pulling within three points before losing the match 21-25.
After a decisive three-game win by the Wildcats, 25-14, Whitworth won the match with a 25-15 game four victory.
With only two more games on the schedule, Nov. 5 will be the final home game for seniors Emily Carpenter and Rae Smith. Kimura was pleased to have the opportunity to coach these players.
“They both came into the program as transfers and adjusted well,” he said. “Rae [Smith] works hard out there, and Emily [Carpenter] has been setting more for us lately. It has been nice to have both of them in the program.”
The Wildcats will return all but two players and have one of the top defenses in the conference. With the offense continuing to grow, the Wildcats will look to build upon this year and become contenders in the future.
The Wildcats face Pacific Lutheran University 7 p.m. at home on Nov. 5 for senior night. The women have their final game at 7 p.m. at George Fox.
Jerry Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.