McMINNVILLE, Ore. – After a slow start in the opening set, visiting Whitworth surged to a Northwest Conference volleyball sweep at Linfield on Friday night.
The Pirates defeated the Wildcats 25-22, 25-16, 25-18 to improve to 9-3 overall and 2-0 in the NWC with their sixth straight win. Linfield dropped to 5-4, 0-3.
Several unforced hitting errors early in the opening set allowed the Wildcats to take a 14-11 lead after a kill by Molly McTaggart. But Whitworth responded with a 10-2 run to grab a 20-16 lead after a block by Cassandra Mendoza and Brenna Bruil. The Bucs would never trail again at any point in the match and went on to take the opening set on a service by Taylor Wicht.
The Whitworth offense really came to life in the second set. The Pirates jumped to a 6-1 lead and never trailed, hitting .414 with 14 kills and only two errors in 29 total attacks. Consecutive kills by Bruil and Mendoza ended the set in Whitworth's favor.
The Pirates broke away from an early 3-3 tie in final set with four quick points. Whitworth stretched the lead to 12-4 on a kill by Lauren Budde. Linfield fought back to within 16-12, but could get no closer. The Bucs had 14 more kills in the final frame while hitting .310 as a team.
Emiko Kahler led Whitworth in kills for the third straight match with 10. Bruil added nine kills while hitting .643. Mendoza and Budde each had eight kills as the Pirates hit .292 as a team. Erin White finished with 37 assists and Wicht dropped in a total of four service aces.
Eryka Keoho had seven kills to lead the Wildcats, who were held to a hitting percentage of 0.099.
Whitworth will return to action on Saturday at Willamette.