WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Whitworth University volleyball team could not overcome committing 11 errors in the first set and had no answer for Whitman College's .265 hitting percentage as the Missionaries won 3-0 (25-12, 25-8, 25-22). Whitworth falls to 7-11 overall, and 3-8 in Northwest Conference play, while Whitman improves to 7-11, 5-6 in league action.
"We just were not sharp at any aspect of our game tonight," Whitworth head coach Steve Rupe said.
Whitworth started the first set with back-to-back attack errors that gave Whitman a 2-0 lead. A kill by junior Briauna Stadeli, followed by a Whitman attack error pulled the Pirates within one, 5-4. Two plays later, junior Jalana White came up with a kill to make it 6-5 in favor of Whitman, but the Missionaries came up with four unanswered points to distance themselves from the Bucs. Whitman hit .194 in its 25-12 set victory.
The Pirates tied the Missionaries 1-1, but it would be the only time Whitworth got close to Whitman. A kill from Jalana White made the score 8-6, but Whitman went on a 10-0 run that included three kills by Jillian Davis. The Bucs' .034 hitting percentage was an improvement from the first set, but could not compete with the Missionaries' .438 hitting percentage.
In a closer set, Whitworth hit .079 to Whitman's .179 in the third set, and the teams tied six times, exchanging leads twice. The Pirates took their first lead of the night on a block by junior Kristine Kardell and freshman Nicole Leonard. Kills by Jalana White and junior Abi Hedlund increased the lead to 4-1. Whitman came back to tie the game but Hedlund had back-to-back aces to give Whitworth a 9-6 lead. The Missionaries again came back, this time taking the lead on a Whitworth attack error that gave them the momentum to finish the set and take the match.
Whitworth finished the game with 22 attack errors, having committed half of those in the first set, and the Pirates hit just -.029 for the game. The Bucs were playing without junior defensive specialist Whitney Santos, who is injured.
"Without Whitney (Santos), we suffered offensively," Rupe said. "Our passing was not nearly as sharp and you could see that the 10 sets we played this last weekend really took it out of us."
Jalana White led the Pirates with seven kills and six digs. Nicole Leonard had 16 digs and three kills, while freshman Izze Ginley had 10 digs. Abi Hedlund finished the game with four kills, four digs and two aces.
Jillian Davis led Whitman with 13 kills, seven digs and a block. Davis hit .324 for the Missionaries. Olivia Nielson had 10 kills, an ace and a block for Whitman Hannah Linsenmayer and Becca Gotz had 18 and 12 digs, respectively. Gotz, Linsenmayer and Rachel Cline each had two aces.
Whitworth travels to Willamette to face the Bearcats on Saturday, October 20th at 5:00 p.m. PDT.