SPOKANE, Wash. – Emiko Kahler pounded a match-high 17 kills to lead Whitworth to a 3-1 win over visiting Pacific (Ore.) in a match-up of teams tied near the top of the Northwest Conference volleyball standings.
The Pirates won 25-17, 25-15, 18-25, 25-19 to improve to 9-6 overall and 6-1 in the NWC with their sixth straight win. It was the first win of the streak that wasn't in straight sets.
Mogan Mendicino had 14 kills for the Boxers (12-3, 5-2 NWC), who are searching for their first league title since 1982. Whitworth and Pacific came into the match a half game behind PLU (6-1 in NWC) in the league standings.
"We put in a good week of practice because we want to continue to grow as a team," said Pirate head coach Kati Bodecker. "I saw that play out tonight. We did a great job seeing things on the other side of the net and preparing for their attack, except for that third set. But we recovered well in the fourth."
Whitworth opened a 10-5 lead in the first set and was never headed. Corinne Bell's kill made the score 18-11 in favor of the Bucs and Kahler ended the set with a kill. Kahler had six of her kills in that first set.
Pacific took a 14-13 lead in the second set following a kill from Mendicino. But Whitworth went on a 12-1 run to close out the second frame. The Pirates hit .344 in the second set with 15 kills and only four errors in 32 attacks.
Pacific bounced back to win the third set behind Mendicino's five kills. The Boxers scorched the Pirates with a .462 hitting percentage with 19 kills and only one error in 39 attacks. The set was tied 17-17 when Pacific closed with an 8-1 run.
But Whitworth prevented any hope by Pacific for a huge comeback victory. The Pirates hit .312 in the final set to close out the win. Madison Douglas had four kills and two blocks in the fourth stanza.
Kahler hit .325 in the match and added 15 digs. Cassandra Mendoza had 12 kills and 10 digs, while Lauren Budde finished with ten kills, giving Whitworth three players in double figures. Gracie Meiners had 42 assists, while Taylor Wicht came up with 22 digs. Douglas finished with eight kills and was in on a team-high five blocks (one solo, four assists). The Pirates hit .247 in the match.
Pacific also had three players reach double figures. Behind Medicino, Jordan Zweifel came off of the bench for 11 kills and Karlee Duncan had ten. Pacific hit .199 in the contest.
Both teams will finish out the first half of Northwest Conference play on Saturday. Whitworth hosts Linfield while Pacific travels to play at Whitman.