SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth took over sole possession of first place in the Northwest Conference volleyball standings by sweeping visiting Whitman 25-18, 25-20, 25-13 on Wednesday night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The Pirates improved to 12-4 overall and 6-1 in the NWC, a half game ahead of Puget Sound. Whitworth has won nine of its last ten matches. Whitman dropped to 7-8 overall, 4-3 in the NWC.
"We wanted to focus on our passing and defense tonight and I thought we did both well," said Whitworth head coach Kati Bodecker. "Our offense also came on strong. We know Whitman is a great blocking team, so we wanted to mix up sets and swing aggressively."
Whitman was still within 13-10 in the opening set before Whitworth used a 9-4 run to stretch the advantage to 22-14. Brenna Bruil, who had five kills in the opening frame, ended the first set with her fifth kill. The Pirates hit .324 in the first stanza.
Whitman jumped ahead 3-0 in the second set before Whitworth used a 9-2 run to take a 9-5 lead, which forced a timeout by the visitors. Whitman fought back to tie the set 11-11 after consecutive kills by Megan Henry. But the Pirates retook control with a 9-3 run and won the set on Cassandra Mendoza's kill. Whitworth hit .343 in the second set.
The third set was all Pirates as Whitworth jumped to early leads of 5-1 and 11-3. Lauren Budde had the final kill of the match for the Bucs.
Bruil led three Pirates in double figures with 13 kills. She had only one error and hit .480. Mendoza added 11 kills and Budde finished with ten. Bruil and Budde combined for three blocks. Erin White had 32 assists and 11 digs for Whitworth. The Bucs finished the match with a team hitting percentage of .296.
Henry and Shae Kanakaole led Whitman with nine kills apiece. The visitors hit .163 as a team in the match. Whitman came into the match as the top top blocking team in the NWC and finished with six team blocks.
Whitworth will return to action on Friday night when the Pirates visit Lewis & Clark College in Portland.