Balanced volleyball attack powers Whitman to 3-0 sweep at Whitworth

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SPOKANE — Senior Alex Graves and first-year Missionaries Courtney Brewer and Carrie Cecil combined to slam a total of 28 kills as Whitman College swept a 3-0 Northwest Conference volleyball decision (25-18, 25-23, 25-19) from Whitworth University here Wednesday night.


Sophomore Katie Miller, who leads the NWC in service aces, served four balls to the floor to add to Whitman’s offensive attack.


Graves paced Whitman with 10 kills and 13 digs, but Brewer and Cecil had nine kills apiece while hitting .400 and .350, respectively.


Olivia Nielson, another first-year Missionary, contributed six kills in just 12 attempts, and junior setter Katie Richards ran the balanced attack with 32 assists.


Whitman hit .257 as a team, its best percentage since a four-game victory over Willamette in September.


Junior libero Kelsie Butts keyed the back-row defense with 12 digs. Brewer had three of Whitman’s 10 block assists at the net.


Sparked by two Brewer kills and two Miller service aces, Whitman jumped in front 8-3 to start game two. Whitworth scrambled back to even the set at 9-9, the first of a dozen tie scores that punctuated the rest of the game.


With the two sides deadlocked at 23-23, Graves slammed a kill and then served an ace to stake the Missionaries to a 2-0 lead in games.


Game three was knotted at 4-4 when a balanced Whitman attack triggered a 9-4 spurt that vaulted the visitors into a 13-8 lead.


Cecil’s kill polished off the win.


Whitman, now 2-13 in conference and 5-17 overall, plays its season finale on Saturday when it hosts Pacific at 5 p.m. in Sherwood Center.

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