MCMINNNVILLE, Ore. – Combining a stifling defense that blocked eight attacks at the net with a well-balanced offense, 16th-ranked Pacific Lutheran took down Linfield in straight sets at Ted Wilson Gymnasium Saturday night, 25-14, 25-20, 25-20.
Victoria Thompson (Jr., Newberg, Ore.) lead all players with 13 kills, while Samantha North totaled 29 assists to help the Lutes (14-4, 10-0 NWC) remain perfect in Northwest Conference action this season.
The Wildcats (5-12, 1-9 NWC) kept pace with its second nationally ranked opponent in as many nights through the beginning of the first set. But up by a score of 11-10, the Lutes went on a 14-4 run to close out the set 25-14. PLU totaled five blocks in the first frame alone to limit Linfield's attacking percentage to just -.133.
The Lutes continued what they started in the first set, scoring five of the first six points. The ‘Cats clawed back, however, pulling to within one on a devastating kill from Sam Hammons (Fr., Estacada, Ore.). An attack error by the Lutes and an ace by Kailana Ritte-Camara (Jr., Molokai, Hawaii) gave the Wildcats their first lead of the set at 7-6, only to have PLU pull back ahead three points later. After gaining a 9-8 advantage, the Lutes never looked back, getting offensive production from five different players en route to the 25-20 victory.
After the intermission, Pacific Lutheran caught fire, scoring the first four points of the set. The Wildcats responded, however, tying the game at 7-7 and grabbing a slight lead at 15-14. But five straight Lute kills, including two from Amy Wooten, made the score 19-16, advantage Pacific Lutheran. Despite a pair of kills from Thompson and Ritte-Camara, the deficit proved too much to overcome for the Wildcats, who dropped the third set 25-20.
Casie Gaza (Fr., Mililani, Hawaii) led the Wildcats with 13 assists while fellow setter Audrey Frazier (Jr., Albany, Ore.) contributed nine more. Ritte-Camara and Courtney Wannamaker combined for 29 digs to go along with Ritte-Camara's offensive output of five kills.
Lucy Capron paced the Lute offense with 10 kills, while Wooten and Haley Urdahl planted eight and seven attacks, respectively.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield posted positive (.207 and .128) attack percentages over the final two sets…Pacific Lutheran defeated the Wildcats for the 14th straight match…Linfield last beat Pacific Lutheran on Nov. 3, 2006 by a score of 3-1…the Wildcats failed a set from either of the tough Tacoma schools this year, losing the combined four matches 12-0…since switching to the outside, Thompson has twice recorded double-digit kills.
NEXT: The Wildcats travel to Salem to face Willamette Friday night before heading to Portland to take on the Lewis & Clark. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.
Match-high 13 kills
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128