Rocha-led Pirates capture NWC volleyball road victory in Sherwood Center

Kaimi Rocha has 15 kills, four aces and 14 digs for the Pirates in the four-game NWC volleyball victory.

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WALLA WALLA — Kaimi Rocha pounded 15 kills, served four aces and collected 14 digs to lead Whitworth University past Whitman College 25-12, 25-23, 22-25, 25-16 Wednesday night in Northwest Conference volleyball action in Sherwood Center.


Winning its second straight match, Whitworth raised its record to 2-5 in the NWC and 6-12 on the season. Whitman dropped to 4-9 and 1-6.


The Missionaries got off to a ragged start in game one, committing nine attack errors and two service errors. Whitworth took full advantage, rolling up leads of 10-5 and 22-10 before Rocha notched the final point with an ace.


Whitman, led by Alex Graves and her match-high 17 kills, got going in game two, battling the Pirates on even terms through 13 tie scores. But with the score knotted at 23-23, Rocha slammed back-to-back kills to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead in games.


Down 14-11 in game three, the Missionaries turned the tables with an 8-3 run. Two kills each by Graves and Katie Miller sparked the run, which Amanda Holberg capped with a service ace. Two more kills by Miller and three more by Graves finished off a Whitman win.


With game four tied at 7-7, Whitworth pulled away on a 7-2 run. Ka’ipo Rocha started the spurt with a pair of kills and Kaimi Rocha kept it going with two more. Miller’s kill and ace, followed by a Katie Richards kill, got Whitman back to within 16-13, but the Pirates took seven of the next nine points to seize final control.


"We didn’t play very well," Whitman coach Carolyn Papineau said. "We executed poorly."


Veleke Morgan added to the Whitworth cause with 11 kills while hitting .348. Kai’po Rocha finished with 10 kills and a .308 hitting percentage. Jordon Hoffnagle and Bree Riddle handed out 21 and 17 assists, respectively, and Ariana Obert picked up 17 digs.


In addition to 17 kills, Graves led Whitman with 14 digs. Miller combined 10 kills and eight digs while Courtney Brewer had eight kills and three aces. Richards distributed 39 assists to go with eight digs, and Breanne Robirds added 11 digs.


Whitman heads to Forest Grove, Ore., on Friday to play Pacific. Whitworth plays at Pacific on Saturday.

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