October 9, 2012

Whitworth Hosts A Pair Of Ranked Opponents

The Whitworth volleyball team hosts No. 14 Pacific Lutheran University at 7:00 pm on Friday and No. 13 Puget Sound at 5:00 pm on Saturday.

The Pirates have already faced both PLU and UPS this season. Whitworth opened the Northwest Conference portion of its schedule on the road against PLU and played its second NWC game the same weekend at UPS.

Live stats will be available for both games.

Live video feed will also be available for the games.

NWC Rankings: PLU is undefeated in Northwest Conference play and stands alone at the top of the conference rankings. Puget Sound is tied with Pacific (Ore.) for second place. George Fox comes in at fourth place and Whitman is in fifth. Whitworth is part of a four-way tie for sixth place, along with Linfield, Lewis & Clark and Willamette.

The Pirates: Whitworth continues NWC play at home this weekend after splitting a pair of games last weekend. The Bucs lost Friday night's game against Pacific (Ore.) but earned their second NWC win of the season against Linfield on Saturday night.

On Friday, the Pirates hosted Pacific (Ore.) The Boxers took the first set 25-15, but Whitworth bounced back, winning the second set 25-13 and the third set 25-20.  The fourth set went back and forth, with 11 ties and five lead changes, but Pacific pulled ahead at the end to take the sent 25-23.  The Bucs got down early in the fifth set, and it proved to be too much to overcome as the Boxers took the set 15-13 and won the game. Freshman Nicole Leonard had a game-high 20 kills, while junior Whitney Santos had a game-high four aces.

Saturday's game was another five-set series, but this time, the Bucs used a run in the final set to claim the victory. In a mirror image of Friday night's game, Whitworth won the opening set 25-14, but Linfield came back to take the second and third sets by scores of 25-22 and 25-20. The Pirates won the back-and-forth fourth set 25-22, forcing a fifth set for the second night in a row.  Again, the Bucs got down early, but this time Whitworth was able to rally back and pull out a 16-14 win. Junior Jalana White had a game-high 20 kills while Whitney Santos had 31 digs to lead Whitworth. White and freshman Maddye Dinsmore had two aces each for the Bucs.

Team Leaders: Freshman Nicole Leonard leads the team with her 3.14 kills per set average. Junior Jalana White comes in just behind Leonard with 3.12 kills per set. Freshman Maddye Dinsmore is averaging 8.67 assists per set for the Bucs, while junior Whitney Santos averages 4.33 digs per set.

Junior Briauna Stadeli leads the team with .66 blocks per set. Stadeli has five solo blocks and has assisted on 32 blocks this season. Jalana White is second on the team with .58 blocks per set. She has had nine solo blocks and assisted on 24 blocks in 2012.

Maddye Dinsmore leads the team with her .40 service aces per set average. Dinsmore has had 12 aces this season.  Junior Abi Hedlund is second on the team with .22 aces per set and has recorded 11 aces in 2012.

The Lutes: Pacific Lutheran comes into this weekend's game after winning two games last week.  The Lutes traveled to Puget Sound on Wednesday and came out with a 3-0 victory over the Loggers. On Friday, PLU hosted George Fox and won in another 3-0 victory.

PLU has earned a victory by playing just three sets in 10 of its 16 games this season. The Pirates and Lewis & Clark College are the only two schools that have forced extra sets against the Lutes in NWC play this season, and both schools dropped the games 3-1.

Samantha North, Bethany Huston and Amy Wooten lead the Lutes and are the top three in the conference for their hitting percentages. North is hitting .316, Huston is hitting .308 and Wooten is hitting .287 for PLU.

North and Blair Bjorkman lead the team and are in the top five of the conference with .38 service aces per set. Each has 21 aces this season. Bethany Huston leads the conference in blocks per set with 1.41. She has 10 solo blocks and has assisted on 69 blocks already this season.

In their first meeting this season, the Bucs fell to then-No. 20 Pacific Lutheran in four sets.  PLU hit .223 in its 25-13, 25-19, 18-25, 25-20 victory.

The Loggers: Puget Sound split its games last weekend, with the Loggers dropping their game against PLU on Wednesday and defeating Lewis & Clark 3-0 on Saturday.

Jackie Harvey leads the team and the conference with her 3.84 kills per set. Marissa Florant is second on the team with 2.76 kills per set. Jenni Brehove is among the conference leaders for her .38 service aces per set. Brehove has recorded 22 aces this season.

Nicolette Reynaud leads the team with .81 blocks per set. She has had seven solo blocks and assisted on 40 blocks this season. Danielle Westerman is second on the team, averaging .79 blocks per set, whil Kristin Best is third with an average of .76.

Whitworth traveled to then-No. 11 Puget Sound for its second NWC game of 2012. The Loggers won in three sets, 25-19, 25-23, 25-18.

The Coach: Steve Rupe has a record of 209-146 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: Whitworth travels to Walla Walla to take on Whitman College on Wednesday, October 17th at 6:00 pm.

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