PORTLAND, Ore. –Whitworth had to work extra time in two sets to do it, but the visiting Pirates swept Lewis & Clark College 26-24, 25-19, 27-25 in a Northwest Conference volleyball match on Saturday night at the Pamplin Sports Center.
Whitworth improved to 15-6 overall and 10-1 in the NWC and the Bucs now hold sole possession of first place in the league standings after Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound (both 9-2) dropped a conference match this weekend.
Trailing 22-20 and 24-23 in the opening set, Whitworth rallied to win it by scoring three straight points twice at the end. Lauren Budde and Madison Douglas each had kills to give the Bucs a 23-22 lead. Then after L&C had set point at 24-23, the Pirates took advantage of Emiko Kahler's kill and a couple of Pioneer attack errors to claim the stanza.
Whitworth jumped to a 6-1 lead in the second set and never trailed. The Pirates dominated offensively, hitting .387 with 15 kills.
Lewis & Clark (9-8 overall, 2-8 NWC) jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the third set, forcing a Whitworth timeout. The Pioneers increased their lead to 15-8 after consecutive Pirate attack errors. Whitworth then rallied to tie the set 22-22 on a Douglas kill. Still tied 25-25, the Pirates got a block from Iris Tikhonov and won the match on a final Pioneer attack error.
Jessica Schmautz, the Northwest Conference kills leader this season, finished with 19. She hit .310 in the match. Budde hit .429 and had ten kills, while Kahler had nine. Erin White finished with 40 assists and Addy Woolery added 20 digs. Whitworth hit .241 as a team.
Kortney Meyer led L&C with 14 kills.
Whitworth returns home to host George Fox and Pacific (Ore.) next weekend, the two teams that did the Pirates a big favor this weekend. GFU knocked off Puget Sound on Saturday, one night after Pacific upset PLU.