McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Linfield bounced back from a dismal first set loss to claim a four-set Northwest Conference volleyball victory over visiting Pacific Saturday evening at Ted Wilson Gymnasium by the scores of 9-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-13.
Pacific won the first set handily, 25-9. The Boxers registered an incredible .467 hitting percentage, tallying 16 kills to just two errors. Pacific’s Kelsy Takashima had six of her match-high 20 kills in the first frame alone. The Wildcats, meanwhile, hit an abysmal -.069, posting more errors (six) than kills (four).
In an evenly-matched second frame, it was Linfield’s early 4-0 run that proved to be the difference. Kelsey Ludin (Jr., Bozeman, Mont.) sparked the scoring spurt with a kill that made it 9-8, and the Wildcats never trailed again. With the score in Linfield’s favor at 23-18, Pacific scored five unanswered points to knot the score at 23-23, but back-to-back kills from Victoria Thompson (Soph., Newberg, Ore.) and Shayli Coppock (Jr., Temecula, Calif.) ended the match and send the clubs to the between-sets break with one win apiece.
After the break, the Boxers jumped out to a 9-3 lead. But unlike in the first set, the Wildcats not only held tough, they clawed back to tie the score at 13-13. The teams traded points to keep the match close before Linfield claimed a 24-21 advantage. A Pacific kill by Haley Bedell at game point opened the door for the Boxers, who climbed to within two, but Kailana Ritte-Camara (Soph., Molokai, Hawaii) delivered a well-timed kill to preserve the win for the Wildcats.
Both teams came out with a lot of energy in the fourth set, which resulted in stellar defensive play and long rallies. But it was the Wildcats who rocketed to an 11-0 lead. Pacific finally managed to string some points together, but the damage was already done and Linfield rolled to a 25-13 victory in the final set of the night.
Ritte-Camara finished the night with 12 kills and Thompson added 11. Audrey Frazier (Soph., Albany, Ore.) spread around a match-high 26 assists and Samantha Lau dug for 35 balls. As a team, the ‘Cats outblocked the Boxers 8-2.
In addition to Takashima’s match-high 20 kills, Boxer teammates Mariah McHolland and Keahi Braginsky-Ahloo each added 11 kills. Malea Webb contributed 18 assists.
With the win, Linfield improves its Northwest Conference record to 4-9 and now stands at 9-13 overall. Pacific, meanwhile, dropped its fifth consecutive match to slip to 6-7 in league matches and 12-10 overall.
COMING UP: Linfield closes out the regular season with back-to-back matches Friday and Saturday nights against Pacific Lutheran and George Fox, respectively. Both contests are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Defense leads 'Cats to win
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