MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – For the second straight night, Linfield was denied its first Northwest Conference victory of the season at Ted Wilson Gymnasium, as the Pioneers of Lewis & Clark swept the Wildcats, 25-16, 25-23, 26-24.
The ‘Cats (4-7, 0-4 NWC) could not withstand some lengthy runs made by the Pioneers (3-7, 2-2 NWC) in each frame, despite 13 kills from Kailana Ritte-Camara (Jr., Molokai, Hawaii) and 31 combined assists from Casie Gaza (Fr., Mililani, Hawaii) and Audrey Frazier (Jr., Albany, Ore.).
The first set saw the Wildcats jump out to an early 8-3 lead. The Pioneers responded, however, scoring eight straight points to assume an 11-8 advantage. The Lewis & Clark lead continued to grow, resulting in an easy win for the visitors at 25-16.
With the opening-set win, momentum stayed with the Pioneers, who scored the first four points of the second frame. The Wildcats kept things close, bringing the game to within one point at 4-5 behind three straight kills from Ritte-Camara.
With the score at 14-11 in Linfield's favor, an errant fire alarm suspended play for about five minutes. Once action resumed, the Pioneers went on the offensive, scoring five out of the next seven points to tie the game at 16-16.
On the verge of losing a second set in a row, Ritte-Camara rocketed a kill down the right side to bring the Wildcats within one at 23-24. But Lewis & Clark’s Kataleya Milan responded with a planted attack of her own to capture the second set.
The third set remained close in the early going, with neither team gaining a lead larger than two points. Up 14-13, the Pioneers scored five straight points, seemingly putting the match away. But the Wildcats responded with a 7-0 run, tying the game at 24 apiece.
Lewis & Clark would not be denied the sweep, however, capitalizing on two Wildcat errors to take the set, 26-24.
Brigitte Russo paced the Pioneers with 14 kills, while Milan added 13 more. Kelsie Dorpat spread around a match-high 34 assists.
Ritte-Camara was the only Wildcat to finish with double-digit kills. Molly McTaggart (Fr., Burlington, Wash.) contributed six, and Shayli Coppock (Sr., Temecula, Calif) and Victoria Thompson (Jr., Newberg, Ore.) each totaled five successful attacks on the night.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Lewis & Clark handed Linfield its seventh straight loss…the Pioneers out-blocked the 'Cats 10-4...Gaza has assisted her teammates 19 times in each of the last two games…Ritte-Camara’s 13 kills brought her conference total to 46, the ninth most in the league.
COMING UP: Linfield travels to George Fox University for a Friday night game before coming back to Ted Wilson Gymnasium for a Saturday night contest against Pacific. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.
Tallies 13 kills and 16 digs, both team highs
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