Missionaries winless at Whit Classic

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SPOKANE — Whitman rallied from early deficits twice here Saturday at the Whit Classic women’s volleyball tournament at Whitworth University.

But the Missionaries were unable to maintain that momentum in either match and suffered losses to Luther College and host Whitworth to close out the tournament with an 0-3 record.

Luther College tipped Whitman 25-15, 25-17, 22-26, 25-18 and the Pirates prevailed over the Missionaries 25-20, 18-25, 26-23, 25-21. Whitman opened tournament play Friday night by losing to Whittier College 25-22, 24-26, 17-25, 25-18, 15-12 in a hotly contested match.

Whitman’s season record now stands at 2-5 as the Missionaries prepare to open Northwest Conference play this weekend. Whitman travels to Tacoma where it will take on the University of Puget Sound Loggers Friday at 7 p.m. and the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes Saturday at 5 p.m.

“The results were not what we wanted,” first-year Whitman coach Matt Helm said of the weekend in Spokane. “What was really good was learning to deal with adversity. We had to put some girls in position they haven’t played before, but that is what preseason is all about.”

The adversity came in the second game of Friday’s tournament-opening loss to Whittier when junior outside hitter Jillian Davis suffered what turned out to be a concussion.

Davis sat out the third and fourth games of that match, returned to the lineup for the tie-breaker but then missed both of Saturday’s matches.

“We didn’t know what it was at the time,” Helm said of the decision to re-enter Davis late in Friday’s match.

“After the match we learned it was a concussion, so we held her out on Saturday. We hope she is back by this weekend.”

Senior Courtney Brewer and sophomore Jazmine Moledina scored seven kills apiece and senior Olivia Nielson was close behind with six kills to lead the Missionaries at the net in Saturday’s loss to Luther College. Nielson also led Whitman with six blocks and contributed a pair of digs, Moledina chipped in with two digs and a pair of blocks, and Brewer added two blocks and a dig.

Junior Taylor Aschenbrenner had a team-high 14 assists, with junior Rachel Cline 10 assists to go along with three serving aces.

Freshman Hannah Linsenmayer led the Missionaries with 11 digs and added a pair of aces from the service line. Junior Becca Gotz also had a pair of aces to go with 10 digs, and senior Rachel Shober and sophomore Franny Gardner put up eight digs each. Shober also had an ace and three kills while Gardner added an ace and a kill.

Against Whitworth, one of Whitman’s NWC foes in the weeks to come, Brewer and senior Carrie Cecil finished with 10 kills each and Nielson and Moledina added eight kills apiece. Cline handled the majority of the setting duties and recorded 39 assists, Linsenmayer led the way with 24 digs, Gotz finished with three serving aces and Brewer posted eight blocks, followed by Nielson with six blocks.

Nicole Leonard led the Pirates with 17 kills, Shawna Korshavn piled up 42 assists, and Izze Ginley scored four aces and also led Whitworth with 27 digs. Briauna Stadell was credited with four blocks.

Helm approaches his first run through the Northwest Conference confident that his team can compete.

“I think with Whitworth as a measure right now, we competed with them,” the coach said. “I think we can compete with anybody in the league. We haven’t gotten blown out by anybody.

“Right now it’s a matter of getting over that edge and finishing the deal, finishing the match. We are going to be working on putting the ball away. That will be one of our areas of focus — terminating the ball. We ended up in some long rallies, and we have to find the person who is able to terminate those rallies.”

Helm said his player will also be focused on court communication and eliminating inconsistent play.

“Those are other things we are going to try and work on this week,” he said.

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