Willamette Rallies in Fifth Set to Defeat Linfield, 3-2, at Cone Field House

Leenstra Records 22 Kills, Leads Four Bearcats in Double Digits

By Brandon Chinn, Student Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University utilized an evenly balanced attack as well as a .248 hitting percentage to defeat Linfield College 3-2, on Friday, Oct. 12 at Cone Field house. The two teams won alternating sets before Willamette prevailed, 25-8, 18-25, 25-20, 24-26, 15-11. 

With the Northwest Conference victory, Willamette advanced its record to 5-11 overall, 3-6 in the NWC. Linfield dropped to 6-13 overall, 2-8 in the NWC.

The Bearcats received contributions from multiple attackers, as four hitters notched double-digit kills. Madisyn Leenstra (Sr., OH/MH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) led all players with 22 kills and a .526 hitting percentage.

Danica Reed (Sr., OH, Arvada, CO/Ralston Valley HS) contributed 16 kills while Carly Hargrave (Jr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) added 12 kills and a team high 8 block assists. Shannon Waltz (Jr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra HS) finished with 10 kills and a .214 hitting percentage. 

Setter Emily Compton (Jr., Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) contributed a match-high 53 assists and 10 digs. Kathy Lee Glenn (Sr., LIB, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) earned a match-high 38 digs.

Willamette got off to a quick start in the opening set. Paced by three early kills from Reed, the Bearcats claimed an early 10-2 lead. Linfield cut the deficit to six at 12-6, but consecutive kills by Leenstra provided WU with all the momentum it would need as the Bearcats cruised to a 25-8 victory.

Linfield answered in the start of the second set with a 13-5 run of their own. The Bearcats rallied to cut the deficit to four at 18-14 on a Linfield service error, but the Wildcats bounced back to take four of the next five points in the eventual 25-18 win.

The third set was back and forth early on as the teams exchanged leads three times within the first thirteen points. Trailing 6-4, Willamette received consecutive kills by Reed, Compton and Leenstra to grasp a 7-6 lead. After another Linfield point tied the set at seven, Leenstra produced three more kills to help put Willamette on top 10-7.

Still going back and forth, the set once again became tied at 16 points apiece. The Bearcats, thanks in part to kills by Waltz, Hargrave and Leenstra, scored nine of the next 13 points to seal the win 25-20. 

The fourth set featured an early 9-4 lead by the Wildcats. The Bearcats battled back, cutting the Linfield lead to two at 17-15. They would then capitalize on a couple of Linfield mistakes to knot the game at 18. Linfield answered, undergoing a 6-2 run to distance themselves 24-20.

With the set on the line, Willamette benefited from kills by Lizzy Balding (Jr., LIB/DS, Honolulu, HI/Punahou) and Elisa Ahern (So., OPP, Lake Forest Park, WA/Shorecrest HS) to tie the game at 24. Linfield would take the next two points, and the set, to force a decisive fifth set.

It appeared as if Linfield's momentum from set number four would carry over into the final set as the Wildcats jumped out to an early 5-2 lead. But with Ahern serving, a few costly Linfield errors and four crucial kills by Reed helped the Bearcats steal the momentum and take a 9-5 lead.

Willamette wouldn't look back, and although Linfield rallied to within just two points at 12-10, the Bearcats hammered out two more points before a match-winning kill by Hargrave solidified their 15-11 victory.

For the Bearcats, who avenged a 3-2 loss at Linfield back on Sept. 14 with a five set win on Friday, this was the second victory in the past three games.

Willamette is scheduled to travel to Pacific University for a NWC matchup against the Boxers on Saturday, Oct. 13. Match time is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 3
Linfield College 2
Willamette won 25-8, 18-25, 25-20, 24-26, 15-11

Madisyn Leenstra led recorded a match-high 22 kills as Willamette defeated Linfield 3-2.

Madisyn Leenstra led recorded a match-high 22 kills as Willamette defeated Linfield 3-2.