SPOKANE, Wash. – Junior Jalana White had a game-high 22 kills as the Whitworth volleyball team defeated No. 13 Puget Sound 25-18, 27-25, 23-25, 19-25, 15-7 on Saturday evening in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. The Pirates improve to 7-10 overall, 3-7 in Northwest Conference play, while the Loggers fall to 13-5, 7-3 in conference play.
The Bucs hit .350 in the first set, led by Jalana White's eight kills in the set. White had three kills early to build a lead for Whitworth, but UPS came back to tie the score at 5-5. White again came up with a kill to put the Pirates back in front, giving her team the push it needed to finish the first set. The Loggers got within two points, 17-15, on a Marissa Florant kill, but kills by White, freshman Nicole Leonard and freshman Maddye Dinsmore put the Bucs just out of Puget Sound's reach.
We came out very strong and had one of our best sets of the year," Whitworth head coach Steve Rupe said. "I was very impressed that we were not flat after Friday night. Our defense was our strongest part, with 5 people (having) double figure digs. We presented a good solid block which allowed us to set up to dig the ball around it."
The second set was tougher, with neither team wanting to give the other much of a lead. Junior Kristine Kardell came up with a kill that tied the set for the twelfth time, 25-25 before a UPS attack error gave Whitworth the fifth and final lead of the game. Nicole Leonard finished the set with a kill and gave Whitworth a 2-0 lead over the Loggers heading into the third set.
After the break, UPS came out fired up. The Loggers improved their hitting percentage to .140 in the third set and .250 in the fourth set while Whitworth's hitting percentage dropped to .086 for set three and .108 for the fourth set.
Playing a fifth set for the second time in two nights, Whitworth fell behind early as the Loggers jumped out to a 5-3 lead. Again, Jalana White came up with a big kill to pull the Pirates within one. Junior Abi Hedlund followed a Logger attacker error with a kill to give Whitworth a 6-5 lead and junior Briauna Stadeli added another kill to put the Pirates in front by two. UPS could not answer, and Whitworth took the set 15-7 on another White kill.
"We are a very good team and are finding out just how good now that we are healthy," Rupe said. "We are very excited for the second round of conference and we feel that we can compete and beat everyone left on our schedule."
In addition to her 22 kills, White had 14 digs, two block assists, a solo block and an ace for the Bucs. Nicole Leonard had 12 kills and 29 digs. Abi Hedlund and Kristine Kardell each had 10 kills for Whitworth, while junior Whitney Santos had 25 digs and three aces.
Puget Sound was led by Jackie Harvey, who had 17 kills and 20 digs. Nicolette Reynaud had 16 kills for the Loggers will Marissa Florant finished the night with 10 kills and 23 digs.
Whitworth travels to Whitman College to take on the Missionaries in a mid-week game on Wednesday, October 17th at 6:00 pm PDT.