WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Kailana Ritte-Camara (Soph., Molokai, Hawaii) provided an all-around great performance to lead the Linfield volleyball team to a five-set victory over Whitman Saturday night at the Sherwood Center.
The freshman outside hitter tallied 21 kills, 22 digs and three service aces for the Wildcats, who broke a three-match losing skid to improve to 4-8 in the Northwest Conference and 9-12 overall. The Missionaries slipped to 2-10 in league action, 3-15 overall.
Linfield used late runs to win the first two sets and gain the early advantage. Down 23-20 in a tight first set, the ‘Cats scored six straight points to take a 1-0 lead over the home team. Victoria Thompson (Soph., Newberg, Ore.) supplied five of Linfield’s 14 kills. In the second set, neither team held a lead greater than four points before Linfield closed on a 10-0 run. Ritte-Camara capped the scoring burst with a pair of service aces.
After the break, Linfield seemed poised to end the Missionaries in three sets after jumping out to a 5-0 advantage. But Whitman slowly chipped away at the lead, eventually forging a 12-12 tie. A service error by the Wildcats at game point left the door open for the home team, which went on a 4-1 run of its own to win 27-25.
With newly-seized momentum, the Missionaries rolled to a lopsided victory in the fourth frame to knot the match at 2-2. Whitman led the set from start to finish, winning by 14 points. The club registered a .333 hitting percentage, committing just three errors to 12 kills, six of which came from Jillian Davis.
Linfield again got out to a slow start in the fifth set, facing a 3-0 deficit early on. But consecutive kills by Ritte-Camara and an attack error by the Missionaries evened the score at 3-3. After trading points with the Wildcats, Whitman fell apart, committing four errors over the final five points.
The Wildcats earned the win despite tallying just one block to Whitman’s 12. Audrey Frazier (Soph., Albany, Ore.) supplied a career-high 52 assists, the best single-match performance by a Linfield player this season.
Kelsey Ludin (Jr., Bozeman, Mont.) posted a season-high 12 kills and libero Samantha Lau added a match-high 33 digs.
For the Missionaries, Davis matched Ritte-Camara for match-high honors with 21 kills. Teammate Courtney Brewer added 12 kills and Rachel Cline contributed 34 assists.
COMING UP: The Wildcats travel to Portland for a match against Lewis & Clark Friday night before returning home to host Pacific Saturday evening. Both matches start at 7 p.m.
Hits .238 with nine kills
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