EUGENE, Ore. – One day removed from a stirring upset of a nationally ranked team, the Linfield Wildcats couldn’t replicate the same magic in a four-set loss to Northwest Christian University Labor Day afternoon at Morse Event Center.
The Wildcats (2-1) knocked off No. 23 Occidental in five sets at home Sunday night, but fell flat against the NAIA-affiliated Beacons (4-5). The scores were 25-14, 25-23, 16-25, 26-24.
Northwest Christian hit .280 at the net to Linfield’s .205 and outblocked the Wildcats 8-5.
Linfield outside hitter Leimomi Hookana was the match’s most productive attacker, converting at a .407 clip to finish with 14 kills. Middle blocker Kelsey Ludin (Jr., Bozeman, Mont.) hit a match-best .423 percentage and finished with 13 kills and three block assists. Kailana Ritte-Camara (Soph., Molokai, Hawaii) added 10 kills and six digs.
Taylor Richardson registered 13 kills and seven digs, Tami Brown contributed 12 kills and 14 digs while Maren Mansfield had 11 kills and a dozen digs for NCU.
The Beacons jumped on the Wildcats from the get-go, racing to a 6-0 lead in the first set on the way to a wire-to-wire victory.
The second stanza was nip-and-tuck with neither team opening up more than a two-point advantage. With the match deadlocked at 23, NCU forced the Wildcats into consecutive attack errors to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Linfield broke away from an 8-8 tie in the third set, opening leads of 16-8 and 24-15. Ludin and Hookano teamed for a block of Janel Fetters that sealed the set in the Wildcats’ favor.
The deciding set saw the Wildcats build a 12-6 cushion only to have the Beacons respond with seven straight points on the way to a 16-14 lead. Down 24-22, a kill and a service ace by Ritte-Camara squared the set at 24, but Fetters scored a kill and freshman Joy Harpham (Fr., Ashland, Ore.) committed an attack error that closed the match.
COMING UP: Linfield is scheduled to compete in the Bethel University Invitational Friday and Saturday in Arden Hills, Minn. The Wildcats face host Bethel and Martin Luther (Minn.) on the opening day, then challenge Northland (Wis.) and Carleton (Minn.) on Day 2.
41 assists, 9 digs, 4 kills
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128