FOREST GROVE, Ore. – Avenging a 3-0 defeat a month ago on their home court, the Linfield Wildcats fended off a resilient Pacific squad in a wild five-set Northwest Conference skirmish Saturday night at Stoller Center. Linfield prevailed by scores of 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 17-25, 15-12.
Kailana Ritte-Camara went wild on the Boxers to the tune of a career-high 27 kills, Victoria Thompson knocked down a career-best 17 kills of her own and the Wildcats dug 104 balls to pull out their second win in three matches. Courtney Wanamaker delivered a career performance on the back line, scooping up a personal-best 37 digs, one of five Wildcats to tally double-digit digs on the night.
The Wildcats (7-14, 3-11 NWC) earned a measure of revenge for a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Boxers Oct. 5 at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Linfield led by four points, 14-10, midway through the first set, but the Boxers rode the six kills of Una Areta for a three-point decision.
Thompson heated up during the second set, pounding six kills while Wanamaker saved six balls and Quinn Takashima had five other digs. Linfield hit .204 to Pacific's .118 as the ‘Cats scored the first point on a Thompson kill and never trailed in the set after that.
It was Ritte-Camara's turn to catch fire in the third stanza as the junior lefty scored 10 kills on 19 swings with just one error. The Wildcats executed near perfectly, charting a match-best .340 hitting percentage for the set.
Areta and Pacific fought back in the fourth set, a time when the Wildcats accounted for more errors (12) than kills (11). Areta had five kills and Emily Farnham provided six digs as the Boxers pulled away for a 25-17 win to square the match a two sets a piece.
Though it was close, Linfield snatched an early lead in the deciding set and never relinquished. Ritte-Camara and Thompson combined for nine kills while Wanamaker and Audrey Frazier teamed for 10 digs.
Aiding Linfield's cause were Sam Hammons, who provided 10 kills and a block assist, and Shayli Coppock, who added another eight kills to go with a sharp .227 hitting percentage. Takashima and Frazier each scored a pair of service aces, and Ritte-Camara and Thompson had a hand in a pair of blocks. Casie Gaza (Sr., Mililani, Hawaii) finished with 32 assists while Frazier totaled a season-best 27 assists to go with 12 digs.
NEXT: Linfield takes to the road for its final two contests of 2013. Friday night, the Wildcats are in Walla Walla, Wash., to battle the Whitman Missionaries, whom they swept at Ted Wilson Gym in mid-October. Saturday, Linfield visits Whitworth in Spokane. Both matchups begin at 7 p.m.