McMINNVILLE, Ore. – A balanced offensive attack helped Top-25 club Colorado College soundly defeat Linfield in three sets, 25-19, 25-16, 25-14 Friday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Kristen Liberty contributed a match-high 12 kills and three of her teammates had five or more successful attacks as the Tigers (12-4) rolled through their second Northwest Conference opponent in as many nights.
Kailana Ritte-Camara (Jr., Molokai, Hawaii) and Shayli Coppock (Sr., Temecula, Calif) paced the home team with six kills each as the Wildcats (7-6) dropped their fifth consecutive match after opening the year with seven wins in nine tries.
Perhaps looking to upset another ranked opponent like they did earlier in the season against Occidental, the Wildcats came to battle, hanging tough with 17th-ranked Tigers through the majority of the opening set.
Linfield tied the match five times, including for the last time at 9-9. But the home team appeared disorganized at times and struggled to keep attacks in-bounds, and the Tigers took full advantage. A four-nothing run gave Colorado College a 21-15 lead. Although Linfield closed to within three, the deficit proved too much to completely overcome.
Colorado College dominated early on in the second set, opening up a nine-point spread (17-8) and looking to send both teams to the halftime break at break-neck speed. But a pesky Wildcat team refused to back down.
Five straight points – including three blocks – were enough of a threat to force a Tiger timeout. That pause in action seemed to do the trick, as the visitors immediately went on a 5-0 run of their own to push their advantage to 22-13. A Linfield timeout simply prolonged the inevitable. Six points later, Colorado’s Courtney Birkett delivered the set-ending kill.
With the ‘Cats hitting a paltry -.057 during the set, it was the defense that kept them in the game. Kelsey Ludin (Sr., Bozeman, Mont.) was involved in all three of Linfield’s blocks while also recording two kills on the attack.
Errors again proved costly for the Wildcats in the decisive third set, as their mistakes fueled a 6-0 Colorado College run in the early going. The Wildcats scored a victory by winning a long rally at 11-4, but failed to put points on the board quickly enough to keep up with the Tigers, who won by 11 points, 25-14.
For the match, Colorado’s Devon Lucero spread around 24 assists and Laura Goldsmith recorded 29 digs.
Linfield's Courtney Wanamaker (Jr., West Linn, Ore.) dug 25 balls and Audrey Frazier (Jr., Albany, Ore.) distributed 17 assists.
UP NEXT: The Wildcats host another Top-25 opponent Saturday evening when 10th-ranked Puget Sound comes to town. Tipoff at Ted Wilson Gymnasium is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Match-high three blocks
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128