FOREST GROVE, Ore. – The Whitworth volleyball team won the first two sets, but it was not enough as the Pirates fell 3-2 (25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 21-25, 10-15 ) to Pacific (Ore.) on Friday night in Forest Grove. Whitworth falls to 9-13 overall, 5-10 in Northwest Conference action, while Pacific improves to 11-12, 10-5 in conference play.
Pacific jumped out to a 5-0 lead before a kill from junior Abi Hedlund gave Whitworth its first point of the night. The Pirates came back to tie four times, but the Boxers managed to get back in front each time. Back-to-back kills from junior Jalana White gave Whitworth a 24-22 lead, and the Bucs were able to take the set after a Boxer attack error. The Pirates hit .333 in the first set.
Abi Hedlund opened the second set with a kill to score give Whitworth a 1-0 lead, before Pacific went on a 5-2 run to build a 7-4 lead. The Pirates fought their way back after a Boxer attack error tied the score at 9-9 and then another kill from Hedlund gave the Bucs their second lead of the set. Whitworth kept a lead until an 8-3 run by Pacific tied the score at 22-22. Whitworth went back in front on a kill from junior Kristine Kardell, but the Pirates followed it with an attack error that tied the score again. Back-to-back Boxer attack errors gave the second set victory to the Pirates.
The Boxers got on the scoreboard first in the third set and continued to build a lead, but the Pirates responded. Whitworth scored ten points in a run that featured an ace from freshman Maddye Dinsmore and a kills from juniors Briauna Stadeli and Abi Hedlund to tie the score at 14-14. The Bucs then went ahead by three points, 18-15, after back-to back kills from freshman Nicole Leonard and Hedlund; however, the Boxers scored five unanswered points to regain the lead. Whitworth was unable to respond with a run of its own as the Boxers took set three.
"We had good energy and effort in the first 3 sets and just couldn't hold them off in the 3rd set," Whitworth head coach Steve Rupe said.
The fourth set saw four lead changes early before Pacific went ahead by two on back-to-back kills. A kill from Nicole Leonard pulled Whitworth within two, 11-9, but Pacific scored four points to give the Boxers a comfortable lead. The Pirates had 12 kills in the set, but it was not enough to overcome the Boxers.
Pacific jumped out to a 6-3 lead top open the fifth set. Kills from Jalana White and Abi Hedlund, followed by an ace from White, tied the score 8-8, but Pacific went on to score four unanswered points to put just enough distance between the teams to give the Boxers the win.
"We lost momentum and struggled in (sets) 4 and 5 while they stepped up their game and made a lot of defensive plays," Rupe said. "We failed to end plays when we had the chance then they did."
Jalana White led the Pirates with 18 kills, nine digs and an ace. Abi Hedlund and Nicole Leonard had 12 kills apiece. Hedlund also had 15 digs, while Leonard finished with 24 digs. Maddye Dinsmore had 45 assists, 18 digs and two aces. Junior Whitney Santos recorded 26 digs for Whitworth.
Alexa Block had a game high 27 kills, which was one short of a Pacific school record. Marie Rewick had 18 kills, 25 digs and an ace. Mariah McHolland had 10 kills and two aces. Becky Sheller finished the night with 33 digs, while Tiana Greenhalgh recorded 28 digs. Jade Thompson and Emily Franham had 15 and 10 digs, respectively.
Whitworth plays at Linfield on Saturday at 5:00 pm.