NEWBERG, Ore. — Whitman College put up a considerable fight here Friday night at the Wheeler Sports Center on the George Fox University campus.
But in the end, the home-standing Bruins prevailed 24-26, 25-23, 25-13, 24-26, 15-13 in a Northwest Conference women’s volleyball match.
“Boy! Was it ever a good volleyball match,” first-year Whitman coach Matt Helm said after seeing his team’s two-game mini-winning streak come to an end. “It was a nail biter, for sure.
“I think we might have been a half a step behind the whole game, though, from what George Fox was doing and running,” Helm added. “It is really a difficult type of thing to put a handle on, but we seemed a little sluggish.”
Sophomore Jazmine Moledina and junior Jillian Davis combined for 27 kills for the Missionaries, with Moledina leading the way with 14. Moledina also turned in a .286 hitting percentage.
“I thought Jazmine had a great match,” Helm said of Moledina, who also contributed nine digs to Whitman’s effort. “She came out and played really well for us.”
Freshman Hannah Linsenmayer was Whitman’s digs leader with 20, topping no fewer than five Missionaries who recorded double-digit digs. Senior Rachel Shober contributed 17 digs, Davis finished with 15, junior Becca Gotz added 13 and junior Rachel Cline rounded out the group with 12.
Cline also did the majority of the setting for the Missionaries and totaled 34 assists. Junior Taylor Aschenbrenner added 13 assists to Whitman’s stat line.
The Missionaries collected only five service aces in the five-set match, with Davis credited with three of them.
In addition to Moledina and Davis, the Whits got steady play at the net from senior Courtney Brewer and senior Olivia Nielson with nine and seven kills, respectively. Nielson also led the team with five blocks.
The Bruins were led by Erin Campbell with 18 kills, Lucy Capron with 22 digs, Payton Schrum with 49 assists and Cassie Irwin with five blocks. Irwin, Schrum and Chelsea Wilson scored two serving aces each.
“I think the match came down to making key plays at key times,” Helm said. “We weren’t able to execute some of the opportunities we had, whereas George Fox did.
“It was a back-and-forth match. I’m not sure we played to our full potential and George Fox was able to hang tight on the opposite side.”
The loss dropped Whitman’s league record to 2-3 and its overall mark to 4-8 heading into a Saturday afternoon match at Lewis & Clark College in Portland.
Lewis & Clark won its first conference match in five tries Friday with a 25-16, 25-21, 25-18 victory over Whitworth. The Pioneers improved to 5-9 on the year.
George Fox, which entertains Whitworth on Saturday, moved above the .500 mark to 3-2 in NWC play and is now 5-7 overall. The Pirates from Spokane are 1-4 in the conference and 5-7 overall.
“We’re going to try and work on being more up-tempo on our side of the net,” Helm said as he looked ahead to Saturday’s match. “Hopefully, we can flip things around at Lewis & Clark.”