SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University volleyball team's fifth set rally came up short in a 3-2 (26-28, 25-17, 25-20, 10-25, 18-16) loss to Pacific (Ore.) University in Northwest Conference action in Whitworth Fieldhouse on Saturday. Whitworth falls to 13-11 overall, with a 7-5 record in the NWC, while Pacific improves to 7-12 on the season, 6-6 in NWC play.
"Tonight we struggled starting out strong," Whitworth head coach Kati Bodecker said. "We lacked a sense of urgency. They were able to pick us apart defensively and we were disjointed in our offense."
Whitworth fell behind 9-4 in the opening set, forcing the Pirates to call a timeout. Sophomore Nicole Leonard sparked the Pirates with a kill that sophomore Maddye Dinsmore followed with an ace to make it an 11-7 set. Trailing 23-18, Whitworth used a Boxer service error to start a 6-0 run, capped by a block from junior Tori LaBrie and freshman Brenna Bruil to give Whitworth its first lead of the night, 24-23. Senior Briauna Stadeli put the Pirates up 1-0 in the match with a kill to end the set.
Pacific took a 3-0 lead in the second set and never looked back. The Pirates looked to threaten the Boxers after a senior Jalana White kill and a service ace from Nicole Leonard made it 14-10 in Pacific's favor, but the Boxers called timeout and regained control, claiming a 25-17 set victory. The Boxers carried the momentum into the third set, scoring the five of the last seven points to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Whitworth opened the fourth set with kills from senior Kristine Kardell and Leonard to take its first opening lead on the night, a 4-0 advantage. The Pirates led 10-2 after kills from White, Leonard, LaBrie and Kardell and a service ace from junior Katie Adams put Whitworth in front 12-3, forcing Pacific to use its second timeout. The Pirates used a .394 hitting percentage in the set to even the series 2-2 and force a decisive fifth set.
Trailing 10-5 in the fifth set, Whitworth put together a 7-1 run, led by Kardell and Leonard, to take a 12-11 lead. Pacific regained a 14-12 lead after back-to-back Whitworth errors, but Kardell kept the Pirates alive with her 14th kill of the night. Pacific claimed the match victory on a block by Jamie Steach and Hannah Smargiassi.
Nicole Leonard led the Pirates with a match-high 19 kills, 12 digs and an ace. Jalana White finished the night with 16 kills and a team-high 23 digs, with a .238 hitting percentage, while Kristine Kardell recorded three blocks and 16 kills on a .265 hitting percentage. Maddye Dinsmore dished out 59 assists, while recording 13 digs and an ace. Senior Anna Buck served up a team-high three aces.
Una Areta led the Boxers with 17 kills, 16 digs, two blocks and an ace. Mariah McHolland tallied 14 kills and five blocks with a .333 hitting percentage, while Hannah Herbert recorded 12 kills for Pacific. Emily Farnham dished out 43 assists, while recording 10 digs and three aces.
Whitworth travels to the coast to take on a pair of ranked opponents in Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran next weekend. The Pirates face No. 15 Puget Sound on Friday, November 1st at 7:00 p.m. and No. 14 Pacific Lutheran on Saturday, November 2nd at 5:00 p.m.