SALEM, Ore. – Corinne Bell led the way as Whitworth posted ten team blocks during a comeback Northwest Conference volleyball victory at Willamette on Saturday night.
The Pirates rallied for a 21-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-19 win to improve to 12-8 overall and 9-3 in the NWC. The host Bearcats fell to 7-13, 4-8.
Bell was in on six of Whitworth's ten team blocks against Willamette. The ten blocks is the second-highest total of the season for the Pirates.
Willamette jumped to a 5-1 lead in the first set and never trailed. Whitworth pulled to within 11-10 on a kill by Gracie Meiners. But the Bearcats answered with a 7-3 run and held off the Bucs for their only set win of the night.
Willamette looked like it might make it a two set lead after jumping out front 4-1 in the second frame. Whitworth responded with a 4-0 run to take its first lead of the night. The teams traded leads until the Bearcats went up 18-16 on a Pirate attack error. The Pirates finished the set on a 9-1 run, winning on an ace by Cassandra Mendoza.
The third set was all Whitworth. The Pirates never trailed and hit .330 in the third stanza. Whitworth was also rolling on defense, getting five of the team's ten blocks in the third set. Lauren Budde ended the set with a kill.
The Pirates finished off the win by pounding 20 kills in the fourth set. Whitworth jumped ahead 8-2 and never trailed. The Bearcats held off three match points at the end before a kill from Madison Douglas finished it off.
Emiko Kahler led four Pirates in double figures with a match-high 17 kills. She was also in on four block assists. Mendoza had 16 kills and 18 digs. Bell pounded a career-high 14 kills to go along with her six block assists. Budde finished with 10 kills. Meiners dished 54 assists, while Taylor Wicht totaled 24 digs.
Jaiden Mason had 11 kills to lead Willamette. Elana Vasquez had a match-high 25 digs.
Whitworth will play its final non-conference game of the season at Lewis-Clark State on Wednesday night.