McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Linfield is out to its best start in six years after downing Lewis & Clark in three sets by a count of 25-15, 25-18, 26-24 Saturday evening at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
The Wildcats, winners of five straight, improved to 7-2 on the year and 2-0 in the Northwest Conference. The visiting Pioneers are left still searching for their first league win after two NWC matches and drop to 4-7 on the year.
Neither team started out particularly sharp, as four of the first eight points of the match were gained through a combination of attack, set and service errors. Linfield found its groove first, however, stringing together big runs of 5-0 and 6-0 en route to a lopsided 25-15 victory in the first set.
Spurred by six kills from Kailana Ritte-Camara (Soph., Molokai, Hawaii), Linfield rolled in the second frame, too, winning 25-18 to take a two-set lead into the break.
Not surprisingly based on the scores, the Wildcats were considerably more efficient over the first two sets, registering a .263 attack percentage compared to just .051 for the Pioneers. Shayli Coppock (Jr., Temecula, Calif.) was most precise with her opportunities, tallying five kills on just eight swings.
Lewis & Clark’s Jennifer Dowdy led all players with eight kills through the opening frames, with teammate Kateleya Milan adding seven more.
In the third set, an energized Pioneer team came out on fire, claiming an early 4-1 advantage. But consecutive kills from Victoria Thompson (Soph., Newberg, Ore.) and Leimomi Hookano (Soph., Kaneohe, Hawaii) and a service ace from Ritte-Camara tied the game at 4-4, and from then on the match was anything but a runaway.
Lewis & Clark held an 18-17 edge late, but committed four straight attacking errors to hand the lead back to the ‘Cats. The Pios pushed Linfield to the brink trying to force a fourth set, but ran out of steam down the stretch, falling 26-24.
Ritte-Camara finished with 11 kills with Thompson and Hookano each delivering eight. Audrey Frazier (Soph., Albany, Ore.) single-handedly dished out more assists than the entire Pioneer team, totaling 33 on the night.
As a team, Linfield registered a season-high .240 attack percentage and ran its record to 4-0 in matches decided by three sets.
Dowdy led Lewis & Clark with 11 kills. Elena Hoff and Daniela de Kervor split time at the libero position, finishing with 16 and 14 digs, respectively.
NEXT: The Wildcats play host to 20th-ranked Pacific Lutheran next Friday evening. Match time at Ted Wilson Gymnasium is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Eight kills, six digs
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128