SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth will be riding an eight-match winning streak into the NCAA Division III volleyball tournament next week after the Pirates closed out the regular season with a 25-18, 25-16, 25-14 victory over visiting Lewis & Clark College on Saturday night.
Whitworth is 21-5 overall and finished 15-1 as Northwest Conference champions for the third straight season. The Pirates had already claimed the league's automatic bid to the national tournament last weekend.
Emiko Kahler led Whitworth with ten kills, while Cassandra Mendoza chipped in nine and Lauren Budde had seven kills and a .462 hitting percentage. Erin White dished 27 assists as the Bucs finished with a team hitting percentage of .244.
"It was fun to see our regular season culminate in this performance," said head coach Kati Bodecker. "It's been a great journey with these girls this season."
Whitworth was especially strong at the service line for the second match in a row, throwing 10 aces at the Pioneers. Mendoza led the way with three aces, while White, Kahler and Cara Wonsley had two apiece.
The Pirates never trailed at any point in the match. Whitworth held Lewis & Clark to a team hitting percentage of .047, thanks in part to six team blocks. Budde was in on five of those blocks herself.
The Pioneers finished the season 5-18 overall and 4-12 in the NWC. Julia Somers led L&C with nine kills.
Whitworth will find out where and when it will play in the NCAA Tournament next week when that field is announced on Monday morning at 9:30 am (PST).
"We're looking forward to next weekend, no matter who we are matched up against," Bodecker said. "We want to see how we compete against the best teams in the country."