Missionaries down Pirates in four sets

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SPOKANE — Whitman’s volleyball team took a four-set Northwest Conference match from Whitworth here Wednesday.

The Missionaries won 25-18, 19-25, 25-17, 25-20.

Whitman improved to 3-7, 1-2 in conference play. Whitworth dropped to 4-6 overall, 0-3 in the NWC.

“This was a big confidence boost for our team,” first-year Whitman coach Matt Helm said. “In our league right now teams are beating each other, going five sets, and I think we are as good as anybody out there.”

Hannah Linsenmayer picked up 28 digs and two aces for Whitman, with Jillian Davis recording 15 digs and Becca Gotz 13.

Davis, Olivia Nielson and Courtney Brewer all had 10 kills for the Missionaries.

“I can’t really single anybody out, they all played well,” Helm said. “We passed the ball well, we received well and our setters made some great decisions in running our offense and getting all of the other players involved.

“The high point may have been our blocking. I thought we blocked extremely well.”

After Whitman’s 25-18 opening-set victory, Whitworth fought back with the 25-19 win. But the Missionaries then re-gained control of the match with the 25-17 third-set win.

With eight ties and four lead changes, the two teams kept the fourth set interesting.

A wild rally ended with a Whitworth point scored by Whitney Santos that tied the game at 15 and got the crowd on its feet, but the Pirates were unable to use the momentum in their favor.

The Missionaries went on to score five consecutive points before a kill by Nicole Leonard got the Pirates back on the board.

Whitworth got as close as 20-19 before Whitman scored four points to ensure the match victory.

Jalana White led the Pirates with 17 kills and 13 digs, while Nicole Leonard had 11 kills and 27 digs.

The Missionaries host Willamette at 7 p.m. Friday.

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