NEWBERG, Ore. – Turning in their grittiest performance of the season, the Linfield Wildcats stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to snatch a five-set thriller from George Fox before a stunned Homecoming crowd Saturday night at Wheeler Sports Center. The scores were 19-25, 18-25, 25-21, 25-19, 15-8.
The Wildcats moved in front of the host Bruins in the NWC standings with the victory, improving to 8-9 overall and 3-5 in conference action. The Bruins dipped to 7-10 and 2-6 in the NWC.
The Linfield victory snapped a two-match losing slide that saw the Wildcats get swept 3-0 in succession.
Saturday, the ‘Cats capitalized on double-digit kills from the front-line trio of Kailana Ritte-Camara (Sr., Molokai, Hawaii), Kelsey Ludin and Victoria Thompson (Sr., Newberg, Ore.). Ritte-Camara notched a match-high 16 kills to go with 17 digs, Ludin contributed 10 kills and three block assists, while the 6-foot-1 Thompson was a force in the middle with 10 kills and six block assists.
Libero Samantha Lau led an inspired defensive effort for the Wildcats, digging 23 balls. Courtney Wanamaker (Sr., West Linn, Ore.) had 13 digs and a pair of service aces, and Audrey Frazier passed out 43 assists as well as four block assists and two aces.
The Wildcats hit .128 to the Bruins’ .106, including a .188 to -.160 edge in the deciding set. Linfield committed just one error with the match on the line while George Fox accounted for nine miscues in the fifth frame.
Stephanie Kerr and Cassie Irwin combined for 25 kills for George Fox.
AHEAD: Linfield returns home for its next two matches. The ‘Cats entertain Willamette on Wednesday at 7 p.m., then host NWC-leading Puget Sound Saturday night.