McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Jackie Harvey powered down seven kills and Jenni Brehove spread around 23 assists to propel No. 17 Puget Sound past the pink-clad Linfield Wildcats in straight sets Friday night inside Ted Wilson Gymasium.
The Loggers, annual contenders for the Northwest Conference title, downed the 'Cats 25-14, 25-22, 25-22.
Puget Sound upped its season record to 13-5, 8-1 in the NWC. Linfield fell to 5-11 overall, 1-8 in conference action.
Wildcats junior Kailana Ritte-Camara (Sr., Molokai, Hawaii) topped all hitters with 12 kills while adding eight digs. Victoria Thompson (Sr., Newberg, Ore.) sent seven balls to the floor while freshmen Sam Hammons and Molly McTaggart (So., Burlington, Wash.) contributed five kills each for the ‘Cats.
UPS hit .136 to Linfield's .037. Though the teams attempted a comparable number of attacks at the net, Linfield was charged with 11 more errors, several coming at crucial junctures.
Linfield kept pace with the high-powered Loggers during much of the first set. After a kill by Ritte-Camara, the Wildcats trailed by just four midway through, 15-11. The Loggers then went on a 9-1 run to win convincingly, 25-14.
The Wildcats' best chance to capture a set came in the second frame. UPS opened up a comfortable advantage, building a 12-3 cushion after back-to-back attack errors by the Wildcats. Linfield fought back, getting three kills off the bench from McTaggart to close to within two, 24-22. But Harvey delivered an emphatic set point, taking a feed from Brehove for the three-point decision.
Working to stave off defeat, Linfield got a good start in the third set, taking leads of 7-6 and 18-15. But the Loggers, a team featuring seven seniors, scored 10 of the next 14 points to pull out another close set. Ritte-Camara punched through five kills in the set to keep the Wildcats close. But trailing 24-22 at match point, Ritte-Camara served long over the end line, and just like that, the Wildcats' shot at stealing a set from a nationally ranked team was over.
Kimura took the loss in stride, noting the contributions of his younger players and the ways in which his club continues to grow.
“We had four freshmen out their tonight. They are gaining some good experience and that's going to pay off for us in the long run,” he said. “ Casie Gaza (So., Miliani, Hawaii) did a nice job out there. She had some good energy and set the ball pretty well to some of our hitters. Coming off the bench, Molly McTaggart did a nice job and was aggressive out there.”
Gaza contributed 15 assists and 10 digs.
(Jr., Honolulu, Hawaii) picked up a match-high 12 digs. Suzanne Dahl and Hammons each scored solo blocks in the match for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats donned pink jerseys in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, one of several such opportunities scheduled this fall as Linfield works to do its part to help defeat breast cancer.
NEXT: Linfield goes from the frying pan to the fire Saturday night when the Wildcats welcome 16th-ranked Pacific Lutheran to Ted Wilson Gym at 7 o'clock.