Bearcats Sweep Linfield, 25-16, 25-19, 26-24

Fincher Registers 13 Kills, helping Willamette Hit .268 as a Team

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Led by sophomore outside hitter Sarah Fincher (Reno, NV/Bishop Manogue HS/Southwest Baptist Univ.), who pounded out 13 kills, the Willamette University volleyball team swept nearby Northwest Conference rival Linfield College in three sets, 25-16, 25-19, 26-24, on Friday, Oct. 25 at Cone Field House.

Willamette improved to 8-12 overall, 4-7 in the Northwest Conference. Linfield dropped to 5-13 on the season, 1-10 in the NWC.

Fincher's attacks led the way, but she wasn't the only Willamette hitter to have a solid match. Shannon Waltz (Sr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls) produced seven kills and a .312 hitting percentage, while Carly Hargrave (Sr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) achieved six kills and a .357 hitting percentage.

WU setter Emily Compton (Sr., S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) earned 31 assists and eight digs. Senior libero Lizzy Balding (Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) also contributed eight digs for the Bearcats.

Linfield received 10 kills and a .381 hitting percentage from Shayli Coppock. Kailana Ritte-Camara added nine kills and eight digs. Courtney Wanamaker and Quinn Takashima each supplied the Wildcats with 13 digs.

The Bearcats took control of the first set from the start, as Willamette tallied the first three points on kills by Fincher, Kirsten Brehmer (Sr., MH/OPP, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS) and Waltz. WU built leads of 6-1 and 10-2.

Linfield got as close as five points at 13-8 on a kill by Ritte-Camara, but the Bearcats won the next three rallies -- including two kills by Fincher -- to extend the margin to eight points. Willamette eventually took the set, 25-16.

In the second set, Linfield achieved a better start. The Wildcats led 7-3 after a kill by Coppock, and later owned a 10-5 margin after an attacking error by the Bearcats. Willamette trailed 15-10, before rallying into the lead.

A 4-1 outburst by WU cut the margin to 16-14. After Linfield tallied the next point, the Bearcats went on a 7-0 run. An attacking error by the Wildcats, a service ace by Alexa Dowdell (Fr., MH/OPP, Mililani, HI/Maryknoll HS), and a setting error by Linfield started the run and tied the score at 17-17.

A block by Hargrave and Lindsey Compton (So., OH/S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Univ. of Hartford) put WU in front, 18-17. Hargrave also was involved in the next three points. She blasted a kill before combining with Lindsey Compton for another block. The final point of the run was on a block by Hargrave and Emily Compton.

WU never relinquished the lead and finished the second set with a 25-19 win.

Willamette rallied again in the third set. The Wildcats held a 6-1 lead after Ritte-Camara registered a solo block. WU countered with an 8-3 run to tie the score at 9-9, and tacked on a kill by Fincher for a 10-9 advantage.

The score was close for the rest of the set, as there were another 12 ties and eight lead changes. Linfield held a 23-21 margin after back-to-back attacking errors by the Bearcats. Willamette called a timeout, and when play resumed, Linfield committed an attacking error, allowing WU to pull within a single point.

Sam Hammons and Kelsey Ludin blocked Fincher on the next rally, giving the Wildcats a 24-22 edge. Fincher responded with a kill, and then the Bearcats tied the score when Ritte-Camara's attack landed just beyond the end line. Dowdell earned a kill for Willamette, and the Bearcats closed out the set at 26-24 when Linfield committed an attacking error.

The Bearcats earned 42 kills and hit .268 as a team, including .556 in the first set. Willamette also finished with 51 digs and 7.0 team total blocks. Linfield hit .110 and was credited with 38 kills, 48 digs and 4.0 team total blocks.

Willamette will play at Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland, Wash., on Saturday, Oct. 26. Match time is slated for 7 p.m. (PDT).

Willamette University 3
Linfield College 0
WU won 25-16, 25-19, 26-24

Post-match Interviews

Sarah Fincher provided WU with 13 kills to lead the Bearcats to a three-set sweep of Linfield.

Sarah Fincher provided WU with 13 kills to lead the Bearcats to a three-set sweep of Linfield.