McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Stephanie O’Connor and Jaime Ecklund combined for 25 kills, helping visiting Puget Sound to a four-set Northwest Conference victory over the Linfield Wildcats Saturday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium. The scores were 25-19, 26-24, 14-25, 25-13.
The Loggers improved to 15-3 for the season and upped their conference record to 7-3. Linfield fell to 8-11 overall and 3-7 in conference action.
The Wildcats played well enough to win each of the first two sets but came up shorthanded in the closing points. In the first set, the Wildcats were within three points, 22-19, but two attack errors provided the winning points in a 25-19 UPS win.
The second set saw the Loggers take a 10-6 lead, only to have the Wildcats battle back to knot the contest at 10. The set remained nip and tuck. Puget Sound was serving for set point, but again the Wildcats responded to tie the match at 24. A service error and an attack error with the set on the line proved the difference in a 26-24 result.
Linfield’s best chance for a win came in the third set. On the strength of four kills by Kelsey Ludin, the Wildcats jumped in front by margins of 11-7 and 18-10. The resilient Loggers closed the gap to four points at 18-14. Linfield closed the set by scoring the next seven points on the way to a 25-14 victory. Linfield kept its attack error to a minimum (one) while Puget Sound suddenly began misfiring, committing more errors (11) than kills (10) in the set.
Ecklund led the way for Puget Sound, connecting on 12 kills and five block assists. O’Connor powered home a match-high 13 kills to go with 29 digs and two service aces. Loggers setter Jenni Brehove passed around 38 assists while also contributing 15 digs and one ace.
The Wildcats couldn’t sustain their momentum. UPS bolted to an 11-6 lead to open the fourth set before surging to a 23-12 advantage. Linfield was unable to regain its offensive groove, ultimately falling 25-13.
Ludin finished with 10 kills, two aces and one block assist, Kailana Ritte-Camara (Sr., Molokai, Hawaii) added nine kills and 13 digs. Tara Hill and Leimomi Hookano had six kills a piece. Libero Samantha Lau had a match-high 30 digs while adding one ace and a kill. Wildcats setter Mahina Galletes totaled 25 assists and 13 digs in a losing effort.
COMING UP: Linfield hits the road for its next three matches. Friday, the Wildcats are in Spokane, Wash., to play the Whitworth Pirates. Saturday, they head to Walla Walla for a matchup with the Whitman Missionaries. Both matches start at 7 p.m.