Bearcats Edge Past Pomona-Pitzer at Pacific Coast Classic

Fincher Leads Willamette with 17 Kills

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

CLAREMONT, CALIF. -- Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Fincher (Reno, NV/Bishop Manogue HS/Southwest Baptist Univ.) pounded out a team-high 17 kills, and Willamette University outlasted Pomona-Pitzer in a decisive fifth set, as the Bearcats claimed a 3-2 win at the Pacific Coast Classic on Saturday, Aug. 31.

Willamette prevailed against the Sagehens, 25-23, 25-18, 17-25, 21-25, 16-14. The Bearcats trailed 14-12 in the fifth set, but scored the next four points to win the match.

An serving error and an attacking error by Pomona-Pitzer tied the score. WU moved in front 15-14 on a kill by Carly Hargrave (Sr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS), before tallying the final point on a combo block by Hargrave and Shannon Waltz (Sr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra School for Girls).

Allie Frappier, a junior outside hitter for the Sagehens, led all players with 32 kills and also registered 22 digs. Michelle Schultz, whose attack was blocked by Hargrave and Waltz at match point, finished with 14 kills and tied Frappier for the match lead with 22 digs.

Fincher was the only WU player with double-digit kills, but Hargrave and Lindsey Compton (So., OH/S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Univ. of Hartford) each contributed nine kills, while Waltz earned eight. Setter Emily Compton (Sr., Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) achieved 50 assists.

The first set was close throughout as neither team led by more than three points. Pomona-Pitzer held an early 7-4 lead on a kill by Schultz. A bit later, Willamette was in front, 14-11, following an ace by Emily Compton. The Sagehens responded with four kills in a row for a 15-14 lead.

WU eventually gained a 20-17 advantage, but Pomona-Pitzer earned ties at 20-20 and 22-22. The Bearcats took the lead for good at 23-22 on a kill by Fincher. A combo block by Emily Compton and Hargrave made the score 24-22. The lead was then cut to one point before Fincher registered a kill to end the set.

Two attacking errors by the Sagehens and two kills by Fincher gave Willamette a quick 4-0 lead in the second set. The Bearcats' lead was just three points at 14-11, but a 4-1 run extended the margin to 18-12. WU won the set, 25-18.

Pomona-Pitzer surged out to a 9-3 lead on its way to a 25-17 triumph in set #3. Willamette committed nine attacking errors during the set.

The Sagehens evened the match at 2-2 with a win in the fourth set. Pomona-Pitzer moved in front, 15-14, and then retained the lead. WU trailed 19-16, but pulled within two points four times before the Sagehens used a 3-1 run to end the set, 25-21.

Willamette built a 5-2 margin in the fifth set. Pomona-Pitzer eventually claimed an 8-7 lead, only to see WU take a 10-9 advantage four points later on a kill by Waltz. The score was tied 12-12, and then a pair of kills by Frappier put the Sagehens up by two points. The Bearcats followed with their match-winning 4-0 run.

Overall, WU achieved a .205 hitting percentage, led by Hargrave, who hit .529 with nine kills, no errors and 17 attacks. Hargrave also supplied six total blocks. Waltz hit .300. On defense, Lindsey Compton and Lizzy Balding (Sr., LIB/DS, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) each accumulated 16 digs, while Emily Compton added 12.

Pomona-Pitzer receive solid efforts from two setters. Ellen Yamasaki was credited with 26 assists, while Dani Kritter finished with 24.

Willamette's next action will be at the Colorado College Molten Classic in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 7. The Bearcats will take on Bridgewater College (Va.) and Lakeland College (Wis.) on Friday, and will battle Colorado College on Saturday. WU will conclude the tournament in the championship match or the third place match.


Willamette University 3
Pomona-Pitzer 2
WU won 25-23, 25-18, 17-25, 21-25, 16-14

Sarah Fincher recorded 17 kills in Willamette's 3-2 win over Pomona-Pitzer

Sarah Fincher recorded 17 kills in Willamette's 3-2 win over Pomona-Pitzer