Whitman College gets first NWC volleyball win

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WALLA WALLA - With first-year outside hitter Jillian Davis slamming 20 kills, Whitman College picked up its first Northwest Conference volleyball victory of the season with a 3-1 triumph (25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 25-12) over Lewis & Clark Friday.

Carrie Cecil, Olivia Nielson and Courtney Brewer added to a balanced attack, combining for 26 kills, as Whitman improved to 4-12 on the season and 1-6 in the NWC.

Lewis & Clark, which got 12 kills from Margaret Dowling and nine more from Jennifer Dowdy, slipped to 3-4 in conference and 7-10 overall.

Whitman took charge of game one, getting its first five kills off five players. The Missionaries mnoved in front, 15-9, before the Pioneers rallied to within 15-13 and 19-6. But the visitors faltered down the stretch, committing four attack errors as the Missionaries closed out a seven-point win.

With Davis ripping three kills, Whitman threatened to run away with game two, taking an 8-3 lead. After the Missionary advantage reached 18-15 on a Cecil kill, Lewis & Clark got two kills from Katherine Fielder and one each from Dowling and Gabby Hands to grab a 21-20 lead.

Kills by first-year setter Rachel Cline and Nielson, followed by a Brewer service ace and Cline-Nielson block, put Whitman back in front 23-22. The game-two pendulum took one final swing in Lewis & Clark's favor, thanks to a Whitman service error and two Dowling kills that gave the game to the Pioneers and evened the match at one set apiece.

A string of three Whitman attack errors had Lewis & Clark on top 12-9 in the third set, but the Missionaries regrouped with a time-out and rallied for a 16-15 lead on back-to-back kills by Cecil.

With the score knotted at 17, Whitman seized command with a 6-2 run. Kills by Nielson and Davis finished off Whitman's victory in game three.

Three more Davis kills helped the home team bolt to a 9-3 lead in game four. The Missionaries stretched their lead to 16-4 and coasted home from there.

Davis, who hit .298 in reaching the 20-kill mark for the third time this season, also collected team-high totals in digs (11) and service aces (three).

Cecil had 11 kills and 10 digs, and Nielson finished with eight kills while hitting .421 with no attack errors. Brewer was good for seven kills, two aces and six digs.

Cline handed out 37 assists for the Missionaries.

Dowling found 11 digs to go along with her 12 kills for Lewis & Clark. Lou Ohki collected a match-high 17 digs for the Pioneers, who also got nine digs from Dowdy.

Leia Matsunaga and Kelsie Dorpat distributed 20 and 11 assists, respectively, for Lewis & Clark.

Whitman stays at home to play its next four NWC matches, starting at 5 p.m. Saturday against Willamette.

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