The volleyball team ended its eight-game losing streak with a win against Lewis and Clark on Oct. 13.
The game started out in the Wildcats’ favor, as they jumped out to an early 10-2 lead. The Pioneers battled back, eventually making it a two-point game at 21-23.
The Wildcats were too much for the Pioneers in the first set, taking the final two points on a kill from Leimomi Hookano and an attack error by Lewis and Clark.
The second set was a nail bitter, with both teams locked up at 22 points. Lewis and Clark would take the set, 25-22, with a service ace and two Wildcat errors.
After the intermission, the Wildcats took hold of the match. The third set was taken with ease by the ’Cats winning 25-15.
The Wildcats secured their win in the fourth set, winning 25-20.
“Since we had beaten Lewis and Clark the first time around at home, it was really important that we were still able to perform well on the road,” sophomore setter Audrey Frazier said.
“For us, we have the skill to beat these teams. But in the end it comes down to being mentally tough enough for games and staying tough all the way through the fifth game. Last night proved that we can do it and brought back our hope for the rest of this season,” sophomore middle blocker Victoria Thompson said.
Sophomore Kailana Ritte-Camara led all players with 14 kills, Frazier added a game high 46 assists and junior Courtney Uyeda provided 26 digs.
“We have learned a lot about how we can really control the pace of the game, and against Lewis and Clark, we finally figured out how to use that to our advantage. When we took control and focused mentally, we cut down on our unforced errors and forced the other team to start making their own,” Frazier said.
We started siding out right away and keeping the momentum, rather than letting them get streaks of points.”
“I think that this win will help us moving forward onto next weekend. We have our confidence back, and our chemistry as a team will help us get more wins,” sophomore Courtney Wanamaker said.
The Wildcats were particularly dominant at the net, blocking nine balls and had 59 kills. The Pioneers had six blocks and 35 kills.
“Everyone played with a lot of intensity and we were very aggressive,” Wanamaker said. “Our front row did a great job hitting aggressive swings, and our defense rarely let any balls drop in the back row.”
“We connected well and put everything we had on the court. We had nothing to lose so we gave it our all. Our defense was strong last night,” Thompson said.
On Oct. 12, the Wildcats played against the Willamette Bearcats.
Willamette jumped out to an early 10-2 lead in the first set and never looked back, taking the set 25-8.
The Wildcats responded in the second set, winning 25-18. The ’Cats were efficient with their attacks in the set, posting a .280 attack percentage.
The third set started out close with the two teams tied at 16 each. Sloppy play in the final points of the set by the Wildcats would give Willamette the set victory. The Wildcats committed four errors, helping Willamette gain its final nine points, and winning the set 25-20.
Linfield responded in the fourth set. With both teams knotted up at 24 each, Ritte-Camara took over, killing the final two points to give the Wildcats a 26-24 win.
The fifth and final set proved to be disappointing for the Wildcats. After being tied at 5-5, the Bearcats surged, out scoring Linfield 7-2, and gaining a 12-7 lead. The deficit would be too much to overcome for the Wildcats, as they would fall in the final set 15-11.
The Wildcats proved to be overpowered at the net, losing the blocking battle 13-6. The Wildcats were also inefficient with their attacks, posting a .086 attack percentage compared to Willamette’s .248 percentage.
Ritte-Camara lead the Wildcats with 17 kills, Frazier added 39 assists and Wanamaker provided 20 digs.
The Wildcat’s head out of town to face Pacific Lutheran on Oct. 19 before they come home to face cross county rival George Fox on Oct. 20.
Chris Haddeland/ Culture editor
Chris Haddeland can be reached at email@example.com.