TACOMA — The University of Puget Sound got the best of Whitman College here Friday night in the Memorial Field House as both teams opened their Northwest Conference volleyball seasons.
The Loggers won the first two sets 25-22 and 25-19 before the Missionaries gathered themselves in the third set and won 25-19 to turn the match into a competitive affair. But UPS rebounded to win game four 25-19 and claim the victory.
It was the sixth win overall in eight outings for the Loggers, who are No. 11 in the NCAA Division III national rankings. Whitman saw its season record slip to 2-6.
The Missionaries got strong play from the net by junior Jillian Davis (El Paso, Texas), who registered 15 kills on the night. Davis also contributed 18 digs, a pair of serving aces and one block.
“I thought Jillian came back strong after suffering a concussion last week,” Whitman coach Matt Helm said, referring to an injury she suffered in a tournament game in Spokane. “She played well.”
Sophomore Jazmine Moledina (Woodside, Calif.) also racked up double-digit kills with 10 to go along with three digs and a pair of blocks.
“Jazmine also came out and played well,” Helm said.
Freshman Hannah Linsenmayer (Mill Creek, Wash.) was the team’s digs leader with 25, and she was also credited with one of the Whits’ 10 serving aces.
Junior Becca Gotz (Bothell, Wash.) was a third Whitman player with double-digit digs, putting up 11 to go with two aces and one kill at the net.
Senior Rachel Shober (Monroe, Wash.) had a team-high four aces, seven digs and one kill.
And junior Rachel Cline (Seattle) had a steady all-around game from her setting position with 36 assists, seven digs, three blocks and two kills. Cline also had a team-high .400 hitting percentage.
“UPS is a good team,” Helm said, stopping short of labeling the Loggers the best team his team has faced this season. “I thought we also played some good teams back in Chicago as well,” he said of a season-opening tournament at Elmhurst College in which the Whits posted a 2-2 record.
“We are a competitive team,” Helm said. “We just need to become a little more consistent. We improved on the things we worked on over the week, but we made key mistakes that were big momentum shifts.
“We are cleaning up some of our kill areas, and playing the whole rally and finishing the point is what needs to come next. But we are making strides and getting better.”
Puget Sound was led by Jackie Harvey’s 19 kills, Jenni Brehove’s 46 assists, Christina Chun’s 22 digs and Nicolette Reynaud’s five blocks.
Whitman faces another test Saturday afternoon at Pacific Lutheran University against another of the NWC’s premier teams.
“We’re excited to play,” Helm said. “The ladies are working hard and becoming competitive. We are starting off the (NWC) season against two of the best teams, but we know we can play with them. We will take the experience of the UPS game into the PLU game.”