George Fox Defeats Willamette, 3-0; Bearcats Honor Liband on Senior Night

Emma Liband (Sr., MH, Sandpoint, ID/Sandpoint HS)
Emma Liband (Sr., MH, Sandpoint, ID/Sandpoint HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Danyle Duprey earned 13 kills and a .444 hitting percentage, while teammate Alyssa Burch produced 10 kills and hit .450, as George Fox University won all three sets against Willamette University on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Cone Field House. The Bruins edged the Bearcats, 25-22, in the first set, before taking the next two sets, 25-16 and 25-18.

It was Senior Night for the Bearcats. Emma Liband (Sr., MH, Sandpoint, ID/Sandpoint HS), the only senior for the Willamette volleyball team this season, was honored after the match for her accomplishments over the past four seasons. Liband was the Bearcats' offensive leader on the night with eight kills and a .389 hitting percentage.

"We didn't play as well as would like, but I certainly enjoyed this team," Willamette Head Coach Tom Shoji said about the season. "Even though our record doesn't look great, we improved so much throughout this year. We worked so hard, and that will be the foundation of our success in the future."

George Fox upped its final record to 9-11 overall, 8-8 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette ended its season at 8-16, 5-11 in the NWC.

Liband finished her Willamette career with 86 matches played and 280 sets played. She earned 370 career kills and 304 career blocks. She achieved a .212 career hitting percentage. As a sophomore in 2015, she ranked third in NCAA Division III with 1.55 blocks per set. She averaged 1.12 blocks per set this season.

On Saturday's stats sheet, Liband was followed by Lauren Stiles (So., OH, Altadena, CA/Flintridge Preparatory School) with seven kills. Elena Vasquez (Fr., LIB, Kingston, WA/North Kitsap HS) of WU led all players with 18 digs. She earned double-figure digs in 14 of Willamette's last 15 matches, including 10 games with 18 or more digs.

Jaiden Mason (Fr., S/OPP, Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Christian School) contributed five kills, 13 assists, 10 digs and three block assists for the Bearcats. Kunani Tuttle (So., S/OPP, Anahola, HI/Kappa HS) was credited with 11 asists and nine digs.

Dupray and Burch led the way for George Fox, as they attained a combined hitting percentage of .447. The rest of the Bruins had 19 kills and 15 attacking errors on 75 attacks for a .053 hitting percentage. Ashtyn Butler was an exception, as she provided strong hitting with eight kills and no attacking errors on her way to a .320 hitting percentage. Laney Search supplied the Bruins with 19 assists, while Sophia Lawrence earned 16 digs.

The first set was tied at 11-11 after Stiles and Liband combined on a block. The teams were tied again at 12-12 on an attacking error by the Bruins. A bit later, GFU owned a slim 17-16 lead thanks to a Willamette kill by Dreux Bertolucci (Jr., OH, Cottonwood, CA/West Valley HS/Shasta College). George Fox tallied the next four points for a 21-16 margin. WU battled back within 24-22 on a triple block by Mason, Jennifer Lane (So., MH/OH, Salinas, CA/Notre Dame HS) and Kyana Benjamin (Fr., MH, Lubbock, TX/Lubbock HS), but Burch registered a kill to give the Bruins a 25-22 win.

WU fell behind 10-4 in the second set with Burch and Butler each producing two kills for the Bruins. GFU extended its lead to 17-7 following a service ace by Madison Ross. The Bruins continued to hold a comfortable lead until they pevailed in the set, 25-16.

The third set opened with seven consecutive points for the Bruins. A powerful kill by middle hitter Madison Haley (So., Truckee, CA/Tahoe Truckee HS) gave Willamette its first point of the set. The Bruins increased their lead to 11-4 and 13-6, before the Bearcats fought back within 13-9 on a solo block by Liband. Four points later, GFU led 15-11, and the Bruins were about to begin a 6-1 run for a 21-12 advantage.

Willamettte strung together a 6-1 run if its own, as the Bearcats reduced the margin to 22-18 on a kill by Stiles. Search combined with Burch to block a Willamette attack. On the next rally, the Bearcats committed an attacking error. Burch ended the set with a solo block for a 25-18 win.