By Jarin Kobashigawa
The women’s Volleyball Team played two games over the weekend, winning the first one and then losing the second. Following a significant conference win against Whitman last week Saturday, the Bearcats carried the momentum to Friday’s game against the University of Puget Sound. Willamette students came to the game dressed in Aloha attire hoping their school could bring home a win, and the Bearcats delivered.
“How we played against Whitman was what we want to strive for every time we play.” first year Jaiden Mason said.
Willamette dominated the first set, (winning 25-14), scoring six straight and then nine straight points to cruise to a 1-0 start. Sophomore Kendall Fox and first year Arianna Khan, both led the team in kills and accumulated four kills each during the opening set. Throughout the second set, both teams battled fiercely, with the lead switching back and forth constantly.
During the latter half of the set, the Loggers scored five straight points and edged past the Bearcats by a score of 25-21. Again in the third set was a back and forth battle. It consisted of 14 ties and eight lead changes. Sophomore Madison Haley had two back-to-back kills, when the score was 22-24 in favor of the Loggers, to lengthen the set. Junior Dreux Bertolucci’s service ace won the set for the Bearcats by a score of 30-28. Both teams were exhausted from the long third set, but the Bearcats continued to play solidly and won the fourth set to obtain their second conference win. The Bearcats improved to 5-8 overall, 2-3 in the Northwest Conference. Puget Sound fell to 5-7 overall, 2-3 in the NWC.
Offensively the Bearcats dominated with a total of 58 kills in the match, 18 of those kills came from Khan. Mason contributed tremendously on offense and defense by providing 42 assists and 23 digs. On the defensive end, the Bearcats had 97 total digs. First year Elena Vasquez had a career-high 27 digs, Bertolucci delivered 16 digs and Fox was credited with 13 digs.
On Saturday, the Bearcats unfortunately got swept by Pacific Lutheran University. The Bearcats were an even match against Lutes in every aspect of the game, which included kills, assists and digs. However, Willamette finished with 25 attacking errors, compared to the 10 errors by PLU. For the first two sets the Bearcats proved to be a commendable opponent facing a Northwest Conference powerhouse. In the first set, Willamette kept the game within 2 points throughout the set, but let the Lutes go on a 7-3 point run to take the first set. Despite the outcome of the first set, Willamette still earned seven more kills and had nearly identical hitting percentages (WU, 0.231 and PLU, 0.235).
Determined to win the second set, the Bearcats ran on a 6-point streak. But the Lutes answered with a 6-point streak of their own to take the lead 16-12. The teams battled and reached 20-18 before Pacific Lutheran University scored 5 more points to win the second set. The Lutes wore the Bearcats down by winning the longer rallies. By the third set the Lutes took complete control of the game. Willamette trailed 12-3, and as hard as the Bearcats tried they could not rally back and lost the third set. Pacific Lutheran improved its record to 11-3, and 5-1 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 5-9 on the season, and 2-4 in the NWC.
Vasquez led Willamette’s defense with a match-high 25 digs. Fox tacked on 10 digs and Mason had 7 digs. Mason also contributed 31 assists, and four kills.
“We saw glimpses of greatness and knowing the potential our team is definitely a positive” said Mason. The Bearcats look to train hard this week with anticipation for another tough match against Lewis & Clark College. The game will start at 7 p.m. and take place on Friday, Oct. 6 at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.