Volleyball Boxers Hit Way Past Whitman
News Release Date:
Friday, September 16
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- While short-handed Whitman College was missing its top two offensive threats, Pacific University uncorked plenty of firepower in rolling to a 25-21, 25-22, 25-17 volleyball victory Friday evening in Sherwood Center.
Pacific hit .362 as a team in winning what was the Northwest Conference opener for both schools. The Boxers improved to 7-3 on the season while Whitman slipped to 1-6.
Kelsy Takashima, one of two Boxers with 10 kills, finished with a well-focused .471 hitting percentage. Alexa Block also had 10 kills while Keahi Braginsky-Ahloo added nine kills and 15 digs.
Samantha Cahill, a first-year outside hitter, hit .364 with nine kills and seven digs for Whitman.
Courtney Brewer and Olivia Nielson, Whitman's two junior blockers, contributed nine and six kills, respectively. Nielson hit .375 without a single attack error.
"We need to do a much better job at the defensive end," Whitman coach Carolyn Papineau said. "Our blocking game wasn't there tonight. We made it too easy on their hitters."
Despite its defensive shortcomings, Whitman held an 18-16 lead before dropping game one and was tied at 18-18 before surrendering game two.
"We were right there in both games," Papineau said. "We need to be tougher down the stretch, minimize our errors and learn to close out games on a strong note."
After Pacific broke on top 9-6 in the first set, Whitman ripped off six straight points for a 12-9 lead. The Missionaries stretched their advantage to 16-12 on a service ace from junior Rachel Shober, one of four she had on the night.
Pacific countered with a set-tying, four-point run, but Cahill's first kill and a Boxer attack error pushed Whitman back in front by two points. The visitors then turned the tables with a second four-point spree before Brewer's kill and service ace squared the match at 20-all.
Pacific setter Gabriela Vega slipped a kill past Whitman to ignite a final Boxer charge that included two kills from Block and one from Takashima.
Two Shober aces and kills by Brewer and Cahill staked Whitman to a 9-6 in game two. Pacific rallied for an 11-10 advantage, which was the first of three lead changes before the two sides deadlocked at 18.
Pacific surged in front with four unanswered points, but a kill from first-year outside hitter Jazmin Moledina sliced Whitman's deficit to 22-21. With the Boxers on top 24-22, Mariah McHolland slammed a kill to finish the set and put Pacific in a commanding 2-0 lead.
After Pacific grabbed leads of 9-4 and 15-9 in game three, two Brewer kills had Whitman back in the hunt, down 17-15. But the Boxers tallied six of the next seven points to polish off the win.
Jade Thompson found a match-high 18 digs to pace Pacific's defense. The Boxers finished with a total of 52 digs -- 20 more than Whitman.
Malea Webb with 22 assists and Vega with 13 ran Pacific's offense.
Whitman got nine nine digs from first-year libero Annie Sing and 29 assists from sophomore setter Taylor Aschenbrenner.
Whitman played without sophomore outside hitter Jillian Davis, who earned All-NWC First-Team honors a year ago as a rookie, when she also was named NCAA Division III West Region Freshman of the Year.
Davis is out with an injury. So too is junior outside hittter Carrie Cecil, who was second on the team in kills last year, and sophomore setter Rachel Cline.
Whitman stays at home Saturday to host George Fox at 5 p.m. in Sherwood Center. Pacific travels to Spokane, Wash., to play Whitworth at 5 p.m.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com