Whitman volleyball wins first set but drops in four

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WALLA WALLA - Despite defeating George Fox by 10 points in the first set, Whitman dropped in four (15-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-22) Friday night in Northwest Conference volleyball action in Sherwood Center.

George Fox, now 1-2 in the NWC and 6-7 overall, turned back a determined Whitman rally late in the fourth set to ward off a deciding fifth game.

Whitman, which slipped to 0-3 and 3-9, was down 19-12 in game four when it reeled off 10 of the next 14 points.

Kills by Jillian Davis and Maddy Bell and a service ace by Taylor Aschenbrenner capped the outburst, drawing the Missionaries to within 23-22.

But the next point fell in favor of George Fox when one of the referees reversed a line judge's call on Cassie Irwin's tip, ruling it landed just inside - rather than outside - the court.

Stephenie Kerr's kill sealed the set and match for the Bruins.

Davis, a first-year outside hitter, sparked Whitman with 14 kills and 18 digs. Sophomores Courtney Brewer and Carrie Cecil added 10 and six kills, respectively, for the Missionaries.

Betsy Wilhelm had 14 kills and 14 digs to pace George Fox, which hit .233 with 16 kills in the clinching fourth set. The Bruins also got nine kills from Isabel Valentine and eight kills and eight digs from Amanda White.

Patti Reeves with 20 digs was one of four Bruins with 10 or more. George Fox finished with a 79-57 edge in the dig department.

The Missionaries compensated in part with 20 blocks at the net. Sophomore Olivia Nielson had a match-high eight block assists while Bell, another of Whitman's first-year players, had five more.

Ali Toedtemeier ran the George Fox offense with 34 kills. Aschenbrenner, Whitman's first-year setter, collected 33 assists for the home team.

With the first set tied at 7-7, Whitman took control with a 7-0 run highlighted by two Davis kills and five Bruin attack errors. Davis kills accounted for three of the final five Missionary points.

With Whitman leading 16-15 in the second set, George Fox parlayed three Wilhelm kills and a series of Whitman attack errors into a 10-1 spurt that evened the contest at one game apiece.

The Bruins used another late surge to take game three. Three more Wilhelm kills punctuated a 9-3 closing run for the visitors.

Whitman's next action is a week from tonight when it plays Linfield in McMinnville, Ore.

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