McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Battling through five sets against George Fox for the second time this season, Linfield came away with the same result, topping the Bruins by the scores of 25-23, 16-25, 22-25, 25-19, 15-9 on Senior Night Saturday in Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
With the victory, the Wildcats (11-14, 6-10 NWC) earned just their second sweep of a Northwest Conference opponent this season and moved ahead of the Bruins (10-15, 5-11 NWC) to finish sixth in the final conference team standings.
Leimomi Hookano (Soph., Kaneohe, Hawaii) had five kills in the first frame as Linfield won a close 25-23 set to take an early lead in the match. Audrey Frazier (Soph., Albany, Ore.) spread around 12 of her match-high 36 assists for the Wildcats, who posted a .167 hitting percentage.
George Fox responded in the second set, turning a close game into a runaway victory. Neither team held a lead greater than two points until the Bruins opened things up with an 11-2 run that earned them a 19-9 advantage. Erin Campbell registered six of her match-high 17 kills in the set, including two of the last three points as the Bruins won 25-16.
The teams kept it close through the first half of the third set. With the score knotted at 12-12, a Linfield service error gave a slight edge to the Bruins, who rode the momentum to a 21-15 lead. George Fox committed three straight attacking errors and allowed the ‘Cats to close to within two points, but survived to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Despite registering a match-low .026 hitting percentage and only five kills, Linfield managed to win the fourth set and extend the match to five sets. The Wildcats took advantage of an out-of-sync Bruin squad, which committed 12 errors in the fourth frame alone, to climb to a 15-8 lead. George Fox put together a late rally, including four straight points at set point, but it merely prolonged the inevitable fourth-set loss.
Linfield dominated the fifth set, leading it from start to finish. A Linfield kill by Kailana Ritte-Camara (Soph., Molokai, Hawaii) at 10-8 fired up the home team, which closed on a 6-1 run. Ritte-Camara delivered the final blow with a service ace that ended the night and sent the crowd to its feet. The Wildcats were nearly perfect in the final set, tallying 10 kills to only one error for a .429 hitting percentage.
Kelsey Ludin (Jr., Bozeman, Mont.) paced the Wildcats with 12 kills, matching a season high. Hookano added nine kills along with eight digs and Victoria Thompson (Soph., Newberg, Ore.) contributed six more kills.
For George Fox, Campbell claimed match-high honors with 17 kills. Teammate Stephanie Kerr added 12 more. As a club, the Bruins posted the higher hitting percentage of the clubs (.123 to .118) and significantly out-blocked the ‘Cats for the night by a margin of 8-1.
Wildcat libero Samantha Lau broke her own single-season record for digs. Lau had 582 digs this fall, breaking her own mark of 561 set last season. The Linfield career digs leader finishes with 1,881 digs across four seasons, more than 600 more than any other player in program history. She also had six service aces against the Bruins.
‘CAT SCRATCH: The match marked the final contest for three seniors: Lau, Kelsey Franklin and Tara Hill…the Wildcats also honored student assistant coach Rosa Gimson, who was unable to play for her senior year due to injury.
4 kills, 2 digs, 1 block in final match
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128