Willamette Falls to Pacific in Five-Set Battle at Cone Field House

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University started strong on its way to winning the first two sets, but Pacific University rallied to defeat the Bearcats, 3-2, in a Northwest Conference match at Cone Field House on Friday, Oct. 3. The Boxers outlasted Willamette, 20-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-20, 15-13.

Pacific upped its record to 5-8 on the season, including 4-1 in the NWC. Willamette dropped to 3-13 overall, 1-5 in the NWC.

Kelsy Takashima of Pacific led all players with 22 kills, while Melissa Dunn added 18 for the Boxers. Jessica Durham (Sr., OH, Medford, OR/North Medford HS) was WU's top hitter with 19 kills. Jessica McGraw (Jr. OH, Gaston, OR/Corban College) finished with 17 kills for the Bearcats.

Willamette played an exceptional first set on offense, as the Bearcats achieved 15 kills and committed just two attacking errors. WU finished the set with a .406 hitting percentage and a 25-20 win. Durham produced five kills, while McGraw and Annika Moffett (Fr., OH, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) registered four kills apiece.

WU trailed 2-0 early in the opening set, but took a 3-2 lead and never trailed the rest of the way. After Pacific pulled within 21-20 on a kill by Takashima, the 'Cats rolled off four consecutive points.

Even so, Willamette's most significant weakness on the night was already showing, as the Bearcats made five serving errors and had no serving aces in the first set. By the end of the match, WU had accumulated 15 serving errors and four aces.

Willamette built a 4-1 lead at the start of the second set, before the Boxers went on a 8-4 run to move in front, 9-8. WU responded by taking the next four points and eventually held a 20-14 margin. Later, the Boxers cut the advantage to 24-21, but McGraw won the set for the Bearcats with a kill.

In the third set, Willamette made just two serving errors, but the 'Cats hit only .147, while Pacific connected at a .375 rate. The Boxers totaled 16 kills and four attacking errors during the set. WU led 16-15 before a 6-0 run by the visitors gave Pacific a 21-16 advantage. Willamette was as close as two points twice, including, 22-20, but the Boxers used three consecutive kills to close out the set.

Even with four serving errors and no aces in the fourth stanza, the Bearcats still battled with Pacific. WU owned a 13-12 advantage and later trailed by just a single point at 20-19, after Melissa Dunn of Pacific made a serving error. The Boxers tallied the next two points and eventually took the set, 25-20.

Willamette surged out to a 7-3 advantage in the deciding fifth set. Durham earned two kills, while McGraw and Christina McGilvray (So., MB, Cove, OR/Cove HS) added one apiece during the scoring burst.

Pacific countered with a 7-1 run, as the Boxers pulled in front, 10-8. Willamette fell behind 14-10, but scored three consecutive points on kills by McGraw and Moffett, plus an attacking error by Pacific. Takashima followed with a kill for the Boxers to end the match.

Willamette concluded the evening with 60 kills and 83 digs, while Pacific earned 58 kills and 79 digs. WU hit .234 as a team, compared to .216 for the Boxers.

Five Bearcats finished with double digits in digs. Durham, McGraw and Jaela Dinsmore (Fr., LIB/DS, Hines, OR/Burns HS) each tied for the team lead with 16. Moffett added 15 and Clare Chedester (Sr., S, Encinitas, CA/San Dieguito Academy) supplied 14. Chedester led all players with 51 assists.

Mari Kondo topped Pacific with 20 digs. Brittany Johnson earned 28 assists for the Boxers.

The Bearcats amassed 8.5 team total blocks, led by McGilvray and Kelley Lindstrom (Sr., OH, Banks, OR/Banks HS) with four blocks apiece. The Boxers produced 5.5 team blocks.

Pacific struggled serving, but committed eight fewer errors than Willamette. The Boxers had two serving aces and seven serving errors.

Willamette does not play again until Friday, Oct. 10, when the 'Cats will take on Pacific Lutheran University in NWC action. Match time in Tacoma, Wash., is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).

Pacific University defeated Willamette University, 20-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-20, 15-13
Jaela Dinsmore contributed 16 digs for Willamette.

Jaela Dinsmore contributed 16 digs for Willamette.