The Whitworth volleyball team looks to build off of its first NWC win as the Pirates head into a pair of road games this weekend.
Whitworth (5-6, 1-3 NWC) will face Lewis & Clark at 7 pm on Friday and George Fox at 5 pm on Saturday.
The Pirates: Whitworth enters this weekend after splitting its games last week.
On Wednesday, the Bucs fell to visiting Whitman College 3-1 (18-25, 25-19, 17-25, 20-25). Whitworth struggled offensively, hitting just .032 for the game. Junior Jalana White led the team with 17 kills and 13 digs.
Saturday, Whitworth got its first NWC win of the season against the visiting Bearcats of Willamette University. Despite another offensive struggle—the Pirates hit .064 for the game, Coach Rupe saw more energy and better defense out of his squad. Freshman Nicole Leonard came up big for her team, with two hard hits in the fourth set that propelled the Pirates to victory.
The Pirates hold sole possession of seventh place in conference standings heading into their games this weekend.
Team Leaders: Nicole Leonard remains among the top five in the conference for her average kills per set, with 3.29. Jalana White is second on the team with 3.07 kills per set.
Scouting Lewis & Clark: Lewis & Clark hopes to get its first NWC win of the season when the Pioneers host the Pirates on Friday night.
Lewis & Clark dropped its last match against Pacific Lutheran 3-1 on Saturday. The Pioneers are currently tied for eighth place in the conference standings, but that could change if they defeat the Pirates on Friday as Whitworth is only sitting one game ahead of Lewis & Clark in the standings.
Jennifer Dowdy leads the Pioneers and is among the top five in the conference with her 3.10 kills per set average. Alicia Callejo-Black is also among the top five in the conference and leads her team with her 1.00 blocks per set average. Kelsie Dorpat is averaging 6.29 assists per set for Lewis & Clark.
Whitworth split the two conference games with Lewis & Clark last season, with each team winning 3-0 on its home court.
Scouting George Fox: George Fox (4-6, 2-2 NWC) will host Whitworth on Saturday. The Bruins host two other games before the Pirates come in on Saturday, taking on Colorado College on Thursday evening and Whitman College on Friday evening.
George Fox heads into the weekend after defeating Linfield 3-1 last Saturday. The Bruins are currently in a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference standings, with a .500 record in conference play.
Tiffany Burk leads her team and is among the top five for her .256 hitting percentage and 1.12 blocks per set. Burk comes in just behind teammate Erin Campbell in kills per set. Campbell leads the team with 2.38 while Burk is averaging 2.33.
Lucy Capron leads the team and the conference in service aces per set with an average of .53. The Bruins' setter, Payton Shrum is averaging 5.12 assists per game.
Last season Whitworth defeated George Fox in both meetings, going into five sets on the road when facing the Bruins.
The Coach: Steve Rupe has a record of 208-143 during his 14 year tenure as the Pirates volleyball head coach. 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).
Next Up: After this weekend's games, the Pirates return to the Fieldhouse to host Pacific (Ore.) on October 5 and Linfield on October 6.