By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University played exceptionally well on offense and defense, pounding out 45 kills, hitting .278, and holding Lewis & Clark College to a 0.80 hitting percentage, as the Bearcats downed the Pioneers, 3-0, on Friday, Oct. 18 at Cone Field House. The win, which avenged a 3-0 loss at L&C on Sept. 20, advanced Willamette's record to 6-13 overall, 5-5 in the Northwest Conference. The Pioneers fell to 7-10 overall, 3-6 in the NWC.
In addition to a quality hitting percentage, the Bearcats' offense also produced nine service aces, including three each by Dani Queja (Fy., OH, Ewa Bach, HI/Maryknoll School) and Brooke Lohuis (Fy., S, Dublin, CA/Dublin HS). Lewis & Clark finished the match with just three service aces.
Natalie Klotz (So., OH/OPP, Bonner Springs, KS/Bonner Springs HS) of Willamette topped both teams with 13 kills, while teammate Jennifer Lane (Sr., MH, Salinas, CA/Notre Dame HS) registered 12 kills. They received strong setting from Emma Porter (Fy., S, Honolulu, HI/Mid-Pacific Institute), who amassed 36 assists. Queja provided WU with seven kills and 15 digs. Shyla Sato (Fy., LIB/DS, Honolulu, HI/MId-Pacific Institute) also achieved 15 digs.
"We really had a good hitting night with 45 kills in only three sets! That's a great percentage. And it was a great night by Emma Porter. She's a special setter. Hitters are always getting good and great sets." — Willamette Head Coach Tom Shoji
Kendall Malone paced Lewis & Clark with seven kills. Blythe Ballesteros recorded 16 digs for the Pioneers, while Michelle McGinn contributed 20 assists.
For Willamette, it was the Bearcats' second NWC sweep in three days. On Wednesday (Oct. 16), the Bearcats defeated Linfield College, 3-0, winning 25-14, 26-24, 25-17 in McMinnville, Oregon.
In Friday's win against L&C, Willamette led 5-3 in the first set and then went on a 5-0 run to create a 10-3 advantage. Lane supplied kills on five of WU's points during the early surge. Later in the opening set, the Bearcats grabbed a 20-10 lead on a kill by Klotz that completed a 7-0 run. Klotz had four kills during the run. Willamette won the set, 25-13.
Willamette trailed 3-1 in the second set following a kill by Alana Pakaki-Pias of L&C. The Bearcats scored the next four points on a kill by Lohuis, two kills by Klotz and a kill from Lane to grab a 5-3 advantage. The teams were tied at 5-5, before WU zoomed into an 11-5 lead with a 6-0 run that started with three L&C attacking errors and continued with a kill by Lane, a kill for Queja and a solo block by Lane.
The Bearcats led 15-7 several rallies later after a kill by Queja, and also led by eight points at 18-10 on a kill from Klotz. L&C cut the margin to 19-14, but never go closer, as Willamette took the set, 25-16.
Lewis & Clark stormed out to an 8-1 lead in the third set, but the Bearcats responded with a 9-0 run to move in front. Malone had two kills during L&C's opening run. Willamette's run featured two serving aces in a row by Lohuis. After L&C scored the next point for a 9-9 tie, Willamette earned three points in a row, including an ace by Klotz. The Pioneers answered with a 3-0 run of their own for a 12-12 tie, and also tied the score two points later.
A kill from Queja started a string of four consecutive points, as WU claimed a 17-13 lead. Kills by Makena Ohlmaier and Kate Kimbro brought L&C within 17-15, but the Bearcats answered by scoring four of the next five points for a 21-16 advantage. A bit later, the Pioneers edge up within 22-20 on a kill by Ohlmaier. Willamette scored the final three points of the match on an attacking error by Lewis & Clark, a service ace by Klotz, and a kill from Lane.
The Bearcats will play their next four matches on the road, starting with an NWC match-up with the University of Puget Sound on Friday, Oct. 25. Match time in Tacoma, Washington, is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).