Bearcats Move Past Linfield in Straight Sets, 25-18, 25-22, 25-14

Elena Vasquez (So., LIB, Kingston, WA/North Kitsap HS)
Elena Vasquez (So., LIB, Kingston, WA/North Kitsap HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Willamette University rolled past archrival Linfield College 3-0 in a Northwest Conference volleyball match on Friday, Sept. 21 at Ted Wilson Gymnasium. The Bearcats grabbed a 25-18, 25-22, 25-14 victory over the Wildcats. Willamette advanced its record to 5-7 on the season and to 2-1 in the NWC. Linfield fell to 5-6 overall, 0-3 in the NWC.

Elena Vasquez (So., LIB/DS, Kingston, WA/North Kitsap HS) provided the Bearcats with a team-high six service aces and 16 Arianna Khan (So., OPP, Yuba, CA/River Valley HS) contributed a match-high 11 kills and Jennifer Lane (Jr., MH/OH, Salinas, CA/Notre Dame HS) supplied nine kills. Natalie Klotz (Fr., OH/OPP, Bonner Springs, KS/Bonner Springs HS) added seven kills and nine digs. Jaiden Mason (So., S/OPP, Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Christian School) amassed 21 assists, nine digs and three blocks.

Leisa Eto topped Linfield with seven kills. Brianna Sanford tacked on six kills. Taylor Souza was credited with 16 digs, while Mattie Kelly registered 22 assists. Willamette limited the Wildcats to a .064 team hitting percentage.

The Bearcats achieved 36 kills and 52 digs, while earning a big edge in serving. Willamette finished the match with 11 service aces and just two serving errors, while Linfield recorded just one service ace and made five serving errors. The Wildcats had 27 kills and 47 digs, to go along with 7.0 team total blocks. WU earned 5.0 team total blocks on five solo blocks.

"We served very well tonight an played with a lot of enthusiasm," Willamette Head Coach Tom Shoji said. "We had everyone hitting very well. That's indicative of good passing and good setting by Jaiden Mason. We never lost confidence anytime during the match."

Willamette will take on Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Sept. 22 at Cone Field House. Match time is set for 5 p.m. (PDT). Pacific Lutheran is ranked #9 in the NCAA Division III Poll released by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).

An extended story will be posted later.