SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth will host Walla Walla, Luther, Whittier and Whitman in the Whit Classic volleyball tournament that begins Thursday night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
Live stats will be available for each game of the Whit Classic. A link to the live stats, each team's website and a full tournament schedule can be found here.
The Pirates: Whitworth returns to action after playing in the Wittenberg Invitational in Springfield, Ohio over the weekend. The Pirates finished the tournament 1-2. On Friday, the Bucs defeated Trinity (Tex.) 23-25, 25-18, 16-25, 26-24, 15-12. Whitworth did not fare as well in the Saturday games, losing to Wittenberg 13-25, 17-25, 16-25 and Wartburg 29-31, 15-25, 17-25.
Freshman Nicole Leonard and junior Jalana White were named to the all-tournament team. Leonard led the team in kills and digs over the weekend. She had 42 kills and a hitting percentage of .199 and recorded 43 digs over the three games. White had 35 kills and a hitting percentage of .123 and recorded 35 digs. Freshman Maddye Dinsmore was the starting setter for the Pirates at Wittenberg. She averaged eight assists per set and recorded a team-high four aces.
The Opponents: First up, Whitworth will face Walla Walla on Thursday. The Wolves enter the weekend with a record of 0-4. Whitworth last played Walla Walla in 2010 and won 3-0.
Whitworth will play Luther on Friday. Luther returns three starters and six letter winners from 2011 and was voted to finish fifth in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Norse enter the tournament with a 1-3 record.
On Saturday, Whitworth will face Whittier, who enters the tournament with a 2-2 record. The last time the Pirates played the Poets was in 2003, when Whitworth won 3-0.
Whitman enters the weekend with a 2-2 record. The Missionaries were voted to finish ninth in the Northwest Conference and return Jillian Davis, who was a second team all-NWC selection last year. The Pirates faced the Missionaries four times in NWC action last season, winning all four games.
Noteworthy: Whitworth returns home to defend a 12 game home court winning streak. The Pirates went 9-0 in 2011 and haven't lost in the Fieldhouse since October 16, 2010.
Whitworth is also receiving votes in the AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll. This week is the second week in a row that the Pirates have received votes for the AVCA poll.
The Head Coach: Steve Rupe is in his 14th season as head coach of the Pirates and holds a record of 204-139 at Whitworth. He has been named NWC Coach of the Year four times (2001, 2002, 2010 and 2011) and AVCA Coach of the Year once (2005). Rupe is the winningest coach in school history as well as the longest serving Pirate volleyball coach. During his tenure, Whitworth has won five NWC titles and has advanced to the NCAA Division III finals twice (2002, 2005).