TACOMA, Wash. – Whitworth took another big step toward a 2018 Northwest Conference volleyball title with a 25-20, 26-24, 25-22 win at the University of Puget Sound on Friday night.
The Pirates (18-6 overall, 12-1 NWC) avenged their only conference loss of the season by sweeping the Loggers (11-10, 8-5) on the road. More important, Whitworth heads into Saturday night's match at 17th-ranked Pacific Lutheran (18-3, 11-2) with a chance to clinch the NWC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament with a victory.
Whitworth trailed 15-12 in the opening set after a kill by Puget Sound's Sarah Blumenfield. The Pirates responded with a 5-0 run, including a pair of kills from Budde, to go ahead 17-15. Whitworth pulled away to win the opening set 25-20 on a kill by Madison Douglas.
The Bucs trailed 10-7 early in the second frame, but rallied to grab a 16-14 lead on Iris Tikhonov's solo block. Whitworth stretched the advantage to 22-18 on Kahler's kill, but the Loggers rallied to tie the set 22-22 on a kill from Sadie Alloway. The teams traded points until a Schmautz kill and a Logger error gave the set to the Pirates.
Whitworth used a 9-2 run in the third stanza to turn a 9-9 tie into an 18-11 lead. Schmautz had four kills in that spurt. The Loggers came back to within 21-20 before the Pirates finally put them away for good with a Douglas kill.
Alloway led the Loggers with nine kills and Sydney Voss had 15 digs.