McMINNVILLE, Ore. - As was the case last Saturday against George Fox, Whitman College fell a few points short of forcing a decisive fifth set while dropping a four-game volleyball decision (25-16, 25-17, 23-25, 25-21) to Linfield College here Friday night.
Linfield improved to 4-1 in the Northwest Conference and 6-7 on the season.
The young Missionaries, who got a match-high 20 kills from first-year outside hitter Jillian Davis, slipped to 0-5 in conference and 3-10 overall.
After dropping the first two sets by clear-cut margins, Whitman rallied midway through the third.
Trailing 16-10, Whitman started its comeback with a 5-1 scoring spurt capped by two Davis kills. After the Wildcats stretched their lead back to 20-15, three more Davis kills and two service aces by first-year setter Rachel Cline evened the third set at 20-all.
Whitman took four of the next five points, getting kills from Davis and sophomores Olivia Nielson and Carrie Cecil, to move with a point of winning the set. Two Linfield kills cut the home team's deficit to 24-23, but a Wildcat attack error put the Missionaries over the top.
Two more kills by Cecil and one by sophomore Rachel Shoberg helped give Whitman an early 4-2 lead in the fourth set. From a 9-9 deadlock, Linfield surged to leads of 14-10 and 20-14.
Whitman mounted a final charge, notching seven of the next nine points to close within 22-21. Kills by Davis, Nielson and sophomore Courtney Brewer sparked the outburst, which also saw Brewer teaming with Cecil and Cline for a pair of blocks.
But Linfield dashed Whitman's hopes for a fifth set, getting two kills from Kelsey Ludin and a Missionary attack error to finish off its game-four and match victory.
Davis hit .250 while collecting 20 kills and 21 digs. Brewer added eight kills, 16 digs and five block assists. Cecil chipped in with seven kills.
Cline, who set three games, finished with 26 assists and 10 digs. Taylor Aschenbrenner, also a first-year setter, had 10 assists and five digs.
Whitman also got 11 digs from sophomore Hannah Holloran and eight more from Shober.
Tara Hill and Ludin combined for 25 Linfield kills. Samantha Lau had 30 digs.