THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – After a 3-0 start to the season, the Linfield Wildcats came back to Earth, winning just once in four highly competitive matches Friday and Saturday at the 15-team Cal Lu Fornia Invitational, hosted by California Lutheran University.
The Wildcats began the season with wins over NAIA programs New Hope, Mills and Corban, taking with them a 3-0 record to Southern California.
Occidental def. Linfield 18-25, 25-16, 25-16, 26-24
Middle blockers Suzanne Dahl (Fr., Bellevue, Wash.) and Victoria Thompson (Jr., Newberg, Ore.) riddled Occidental along the line. Thompson scored five block assists and six kills while Dahl contributed two solo blocks, three block assists and three kills.
Kailana Ritte-Camara (Jr., Molokai, Hawaii) provided the ‘Cats with a team-high 12 kills to go along with 10 digs and a solo block. Casie Gaza (Fr., Mililani, Hawaii) passed out 19 assists and registered 13 digs while Audrey Frazier (Jr., Albany, Ore.) set up 14 scoring plays while adding nine assists.
Linfield def. Redlands 20-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-23
In a nip-and-tuck match, the Wildcats prevailed over the Bulldogs, thanks in part to the 14 kills, 15 digs and four service aces of Ritte-Camara. Victoria Thompson (Jr., Newberg, Ore.) added 10 kills, Shayli Coppock (Sr., Temecula, Calif) had nine and Sam Hammons (Fr., Estacada, Ore.) seven.
Courtney Uyeda (Soph., Honolulu, Hawaii) dug 20 balls in the back row. Gaza and Frazier combined for 45 assists.
Chapman def. Linfield 25-19, 25-16, 25-18
Coppock and Ritte-Camara each total nine kills, Gaza had 15 assists and 10 digs, and Uyeda chimed in with six digs, and two aces for the ‘Cats. The Wildcats hit .117 at the net.
Dahl was a force at the net, blocking two solo balls and assisting on two other rejections. Hammons had three block assists and Thompson recorded one solo and one assisted block.
Cal Lutheran def. Linfield 25-13, 25-17, 25-21
The 10th-ranked Regals blazed to a three-set sweep, holding the ‘Cats to a .096 hitting percentage. Ritte-Camara had a team-high nine kills but four of Linfield’s 15 attack errors in the match. Coppock contributed six kills, Uyeda had 15 digs and three service aces. Gaza had 15 assists while Frazier passed out nine.
Statistically, Ritte-Camara was the Wildcats' offensive catalyst, averging 3.14 kills per set and a .213 hitting percentage in the four tournament matches. Dahl averaged 0.77 blocks per set, with four solo and six block assists. Gaza (5.29) and Frazier (4.73) combined to average over 10 assists per set. Uyeda piled up 66 digs and had a team-best eight service aces.
COMING UP: Linfield (4-3) is home Tuesday night for a non-counting exhibition match against Blue Mountain Community College. Action begins at 7 p.m. at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
66 digs, 8 service aces in 4 matches
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