By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Dani Queja (Fy., OH, Ewa Bach, HI/Maryknoll School) of Willamette University earned 10 kills and 10 digs against Whitworth University at Cone Field House on Friday, Oct. 4, but the Pirates downed the Bearcats, 3-0, in a Northwest Conference match. Whitworth won, 25-12, 25-20, 25-14. The Pirates improved to 11-4 on the season and remained undefeated in the NWC at 5-0. Willamette moved to 3-11 overall, 2-3 in the NWC.
Whitworth achieved a .229 team hitting percentage and recorded 36 kills, while the Bearcats finished with 25 kills. Emiko Kahler led the Pirates with 15 kills, and contributed a .351 hitting percentage. Madison Douglas and Iris Tikhonov each produced six kills, with Douglas hitting .385 and Tikhonov hitting .222.
Queja and Kahler were the only attacker with double-digit kills. For the Bearcats, Natalie Klotz (So., OH/OPP, Bonner Springs, KS/Bonner Springs HS) added six kills and Lexi Martin (Fy., MH, Bellevue, WA/Interlake HS) pounded out five kills.
Also for Willamette, Shyla Sato (Fy., LIB/DS, Honolulu, HI/MId-Pacific Institute) registered 18 digs and Emma Porter (Fy., S, Honolulu, HI/Mid-Pacific Institute) supplied 21 assists. Steele Jasa (Fy., S/DS, Bend, OR/Summit HS) accumulated 10 digs.
Saylor Anderson provided 21 assists and 10 digs for the Pirates. Kiana Vandaele topped Whitworth with 13 digs, while Kaitlyn White added 12 digs. The Pirates amassed 11.0 team total blocks, led by Tikhonov with six blocks and Douglas with four.
The Pirates surged out to an 8-0 lead with White serving. During the opening streak, Kahler recorded three kills. Willamette stopped the string of Whitworth points on a kill by Klotz.
Whitworth extended its lead to 13-3 a bit later on a kill by Kahler. The Bearcats were unable to recover, as the Pirates won the first set, 25-12.
In the second set, there were six ties and four lead changes. The Pirates began with a strong start, grabbing a 5-0 lead with two of the early points on one kill each from Tikhonov and Kahler. Lane scored Willamette's first point of the when she pounded a kill. The Bearcats rallied an eventually took a 9-8 lead on a kill from Klotz. Willamette's advantage reached 11-8 after points were added on an attacking error by the Pirates and a service ace by Porter.
A 4-0 run allowed Whitworth to claim a 13-11 margin on a combo block by Douglas and Abby Wolverton. Willamette countered with a 5-1 run to take a 16-14 lead following back-to-back kills from Martin and a kill by Porter. The Pirates tied the score two rallies, and the teams were tied three more times, including 19-19 on a kill by Kahler.
Whitworth added the next two points for a 21-19 margin. After the Bearcats pulled within 21-20, the Pirates ran off four consecutive points to take the set, 25-19. For Willamette during the second set, Martin earned three kills, while Klotz and Queja each provided two kills.
The teams were tied at 4-4 in the third set, before the Pirates grabbed control with a 7-0 run. The Bearcats cut the deficit to 11-6, but never got closer. Whitworth held a 15-7 lead and then added a 4-0 run for a 19-8 edge. The Pirates earned a 25-14 victory.
Willamette will host Whitman College in a Northwest Conference match on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Cone Field House. The first serve of the match is set for 6 p.m. (PDT).