McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Linfield came into Friday night’s Northwest Conference match like a lion but left like a lamb after 19th-ranked Pacific Lutheran humbled the resurgent Wildcats in three straight sets on the way to a clean sweep at Ted Wilson Gymnasium. The scores were 25-11, 25-20, 25-16.
Linfield (7-3, 2-1 NWC) saw its five-match win streak snipped and the Wildcats never truly found their groove against the more confident Lutes. PLU (9-2, 3-0 NWC), ranked 19th in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, won for the sixth time in seven contests and sits in a three-way atop the NWC standings.
PLU’s Allison Wood pounded nine kills, including five in the final set, Kelsey Pacolt had nine kills and a couple of block assists, and setter Samantha North passed out 29 assists to go with a match-high four service aces. Blair Bjorkman ended with a match-high 23 digs for the visitors.
On Linfield’s side of the ledger, Kailana Ritte-Camara (Soph., Molokai, Hawaii) finished with nine kills, four in the third set, and Kelsey Ludin (Jr., Bozeman, Mont.) had five kills. Courtney Wanamaker (Soph., West Linn, Ore.) contributed 15 digs and Bethany Dickey (Sr., Sheridan, Ore.) had 10 to anchor the Wildcats’ back line. Audrey Frazier (Soph., Albany, Ore.) spread around 20 assists while also chipping in with seven digs, two kills and a pair of aces. Victoria Thompson (Soph., Newberg, Ore.) led the way at the net with four block assists to go along with three kills.
The Lutes steamrolled the sluggish Wildcats from start to finish in the opening set, building leads of 10-1 and 19-5 on its way to a 25-11 result. Pacolt had three kills with as many swings, North spun three service aces and the Lutes hit .214 at the net to the Wildcats’ .062. Ritte-Camara had three kills to pace Linfield.
The second frame was noticeably tighter, though the outcome remained the same, as the Lutes pulled away from an 18-all tie to win by five. Bethany Huston drove down four kills, Pacolt had three more and the Lutes raised their attack percentage a notch to .238 while the Wildcats drooped to .048. Leimomi Hookano (Soph., Kaneohe, Hawaii) provided a lift for Linfield with two kills and a block.
After the ‘Cats notched the first two points of the third stanza, PLU took control, jumping in front 10-5 and 18-10 on its way to a quick sweep. Linfield managed a .072 percentage for the match while PLU converted at a .260 clip.
‘CAT SCRATCH: The two head coaches, Linfield’s Shane Kimura and PLU’s Kevin Aoki, have coached at their respective schools for a combined 41 seasons. . . Kimura has 612 victories in 35-plus seasons while Aoki has amassed 291 wins in his 17th season on the PLU bench.
AHEAD: The Wildcats head to George Fox for another key Northwest Conference battle Saturday night. First serve is at 7 p.m. inside Wheeler Sports Center.
Victoria Thompson and
Pair combine for seven block assists
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