Volleyball: Whittier Edges Whitman in Four

News Release Date:
Friday, September 12

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- With a total of seven points deciding the first three games, Whittier College emerged with a 4-0 (26-24, 24-26, 25-22, 25-19) volleyball victory over Whitman College Friday evening at the Colorado College Classic in Colorado Springs.

Whittier raised its early season record to 1-2 while keeping Whitman winless at 0-7.

Trailing 16-11 midway through game one, Whitman rallied to knot the score at 16. An Alex Graves kill off Kristin Norman's set gave the Missionaries a 23-22 lead, and a Whittier service error had Whitman in front 24-23. But the Poets bounced back to take the next three points, and the game, on two Natalia Barajas kills and a Missionary attack error.

Whitman took charge in game two, taking leads of 11-6 and 17-10 on services aces by Kelsie Butts and Jessica Brice. The Poets turned the tables, pulling ahead 23-21 before two kills by Graves and a game-winning ace by Brice evened the match at 1-1.

The Missionaries held an early 6-3 lead in game three, thanks to kills by Graves, Katie Miller and Breanne Robirds, and two more aces by Graves and Brice. But the two sides deadlocked on points six through eight and 11 through 14 before the Poets pulled away into a 20-15 lead and coasted home for a three-point win.

With its sights set on closing out the match, Whittier grabbed a 14-11 advantage in game four. Whitman responded with a five-point surge, capped by a Graves kill and Poet attack error, to lead 16-14 and keep its hopes alive for a deciding fifth game.

After the Missionaries held what proved to be their final lead of the night at 18-17, Whittier closed out the game and match on an 8-1 run.

Graves, a junior, paced the Missionaries with 12 kills, 17 digs and three service aces. Miller, a first-year outside hitter, added eight kills and 17 digs. Robirds, also a junior, chipped in with eight kills.

Butts, a sophomore libero, led Whitman's defensive effort with 19 kills. Norman, a first-year setter, combined 26 assists with nine digs and three aces. Brice, a sophomore, drilled a match-high four aces.

"Our defense continues to get better with each game and with each match," Whitman coach Carolyn Papineau said. "We've made a few position changes in the back row, and we're getting our defense to the level where it needs to be."

Keisha O'Brien, a 5-foot-10 junior transfer in her first season at Whittier, sparked the Poets with 22 kills and 19 digs. Jennifer Salas came up with 36 digs.

The Missionaries have two more tournament matches slated for Saturday, starting with Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) and finishing with host Colorado College. 

Box score 

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu