McMINNVILLE, Ore. – With three players reaching double digits in the kills column, Whitworth ended its season on a high note with a 25-20, 25-16, 23-25, 29-27 victory Saturday evening inside Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Jalana White led all players with 19 kills, with teammates Nicole Leonard and Abi Hedlund adding 15 each as the Pirates (10-13, 6-10 NWC) wrapped up seventh place in the Northwest Conference standings, one year removed from a league championship.
Kelsey Ludin (Jr., Bozeman, Mont.) paced the Wildcats (9-5, 4-12 NWC) with 11 kills and Shayli Coppock (Jr., Temecula, Calif.) pounded down 10 more. After opening the season with a 7-2 record, Linfield sputtered down the stretch to finish eighth in the conference.
Closing on an 11-4 blitz, Whitworth turned a two-point deficit into a 25-20 opening-set victory. Leonard and White each had three kills for the Pirates, who hit .143 at the net and recorded a pair of service aces.
Despite a solid defensive effort by the back line that kept several hard-hit balls in play, Linfield could not respond in the second set. Whitworth held a slim 11-10 lead before heating up and rattling off six straight points. After a couple of miscues – an attacking error and a long serve – the Pirates picked up where they left off, mounting an insurmountable lead and rolling to the 25-16 win.
Through the first two frames, Linfield’s kills (17) barely outnumbered their errors (14). Conversely, Whitworth recorded 27 kills against just 11 errors. Hedlund had her way in the second set, pounding down six balls.
The Wildcats found their swagger in the locker room, and after trading points with the Pirates, opened up their biggest lead of the night, 11-5, to force a Buccaneer timeout. Ludin was in a groove, recording four of her set-high six kills before the midway point of the game. Whitworth rallied to within one point on four separate occasions, including at 24-23, but Linfield held it together and Coppock slammed the door with a kill near the left pole.
Linfield mustered up all it could to try to force a fifth frame, but it was not enough to extend their season by one more set. Down 24-22, the ‘Cats strung together two in a row to tie the match at set point. The home team forced three more ties, once on a Kailana Ritte-Camara (Soph., Molokai, Hawaii) and Victoria Thompson (Soph., Newberg, Ore.) block, and then again on respective kills from Coppock and Ritte-Camara.
But back-to-back kills from Leonard and Hedlund assured a Pirate victory and the season sweep over the Wildcats. Whitworth’s Maddye Dinsomore recorded a match-high 51 assists and four Pirates registered double-digit digs.
Courtney Uyeda (Fr., Honolulu, Hawaii) led all players with 35 digs, with Ritte-Camara adding 24 more to go along with her seven kills and Audrey Frazier (Soph., Albany, Ore.) totaling 35 assists and 17 digs.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Prior to the match, Linfield honored lone senior Bethany Dickey (Sr., Sheridan, Ore.), who played in her final collegiate match…Dickey lettered three times for the Wildcats after transferring from Mesa Community College…the teams combined for more service errors (14) than aces (7)…Ludin hit double-digit kills for the sixth time in 2012…Coppock hit the same mark for the third time this year…Frazier recorded the 10th-highest single-season assist total in program history (813).
Plays final match in Wildcat uniform
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128