By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Willamette University won the first set, but Lewis & Clark College rallied to outlast the Bearcats, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-15, in a Northwest Conference volleyball match on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the Pamplin Sports Center. The Pioneers upped their record to 12-8 overall, 5-8 in the NWC, while Willamette dropped to 9-13 overall, 6-7 in the NWC.
Kortney Meyer of L&C led all players with 20 kills. She hit .429 for the Pioneers. Casey Myszkowski added eight kills for L&C, while Makena Ohlmaier earned seven kills. MIchell Mcginn provided 25 assists, with Mikayla Lopez supplying 17 assists. Anela Pakaki-Pias of L&C led all players with 25 digs.
For Willamette, Natalie Klotz (Fr., OH/OPP, Bonner Springs, KS/Bonner Springs HS) led the offense with 12 kills. Jennifer Lane (Jr., MH/OH, Salinas, CA/Notre Dame HS) finished with 11 kills and a .381 hitting percentage.
Jaiden Mason (So., S/OPP, Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Christian School) registered 21 assists to go along with 11 digs. Elena Vasquez (So., LIB/DS, Kingston, WA/North Kitsap HS) contributed a team-high 20 digs for the Bearcats. Arianna Khan (So., OPP, Yuba, CA/River Valley HS) matched Mason with 11 digs. Kendall Fox (Jr., OH, Dupont, WA/Steilacoom HS) left the match late in the third set due to an injury.
"There was a huge change of momentum that happened in the middle of the second set," Willamette Head Coach Tom Shoji said. "We missed a serve, got aced (by an L&C serve), and then had a bad attack. We went from one point down to four down. We never were in it from that point on. It was not a good performance by us. Losing Kendall didn't help matters, but no one stepped up."
L&C recorded 12.0 team total blocks, led by Ohlmaier with one block solo and eight block assists. Sam Yorke achieved one block solo and six block assists. Willamette earned 7.0 team total blocks, including five in the final set. Lane topped the Bearcats with four block assists, while Jo Stensaas had three block solos.
Willamette built a solid lead in the first set and then held on for a 25-22 win. Service aces by Lauren Stiles (Jr., OH, Altadena, CA/Flintridge Preparatory School) and Klotz helped WU take a 7-2 lead. A bit later, the margin reached 10-4 when L&C's Meyer missed long on a kill attempt.
The Bearcats still held a sizable lead at 15-7 following a ball-handling error by the Pioneers. Lewis & Clark scored the next four points -- two on kills from Meyer -- to pull within 15-11. The Pioneers later trailed 18-12, but cut the margin 21-19 on a kill by the setter. WU scored next on a kill by Klotz. L&C cut the margin to 23-22 on a kill by Hannah Robles, but the Bearcats ended the set with a smash by Jennifer Lane on an overpass, plus a kill error by L&C.
Willamette earned a 6-4 advantage in the second set, and also claimed a 9-8 lead. Lewis & Clark took a 14-11 advantage on a kill by Meyer with a dink attack. WU tied things up at 14-14 with a kill by Mason, but the Pioneers went on a 6-0 run for control of the set at 20-14. The Bearcats got as close as 21-19, but L&C tallied the next four points.
In the third set, WU grabbed a 6-2 lead on the strength of two kills by Lane on quick sets, plus aces by Lauren Kaaialii (So., OH, Honolulu, HI/Sacred Hearts Academy) and Klotz. L&C scored on seven of the next eight rallies to move past the Bearcats, 9-7. The Pioneers went on to take a 14-9 lead with a 5-1 run that ended with back-to-back kills. The set went to L&C, 25-17.
Lewis & Clark gained an advantage at the start of the fourth set, taking a 4-1 lead. The Pioneers extended the lead to 17-3 and 22-7. Willamette put together a string of eight consecutive points, including two kills by Lane and two combo blocks by Lane and Mason to reduce the deficit to 22-15. The Pioneers closed out the match with a 25-15 win.
Willamette will play at Pacific University on Friday, Oct. 26. Match time in Forest Grove, Oregon, is slated for 7 p.m. (PDT).
Big Moment of the Match for Willamette
Early in the first set, Natalie Klotz registered two kills
and an ace to help the Bearcats take a 7-2 lead. She
earned her first kill to give WU a 2-1 advantage. Two
rallied later, she added another kill, and three rallies
after that, she tacked on a service ace to create a
6-2 margin for the Bearcats. A ball-handling error by
Lewis & Clark complete the run.