Bearcats Rally Past George Fox for 3-1 Win in NWC Volleyball

Fincher Provides Willamette with 16 Kills and a .412 Hitting Percentage

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University rallied after losing a close first set to defeat visiting George Fox University, 3-1, in a Northwest Conference volleyball match on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Cone Field House. The Bearcats took the match 25-27, 25-21, 25-23, 25-13.

Willamette improved to 6-11 overall, 2-6 in the NWC. George Fox saw its overall record even up at 8-8, as the Bruins moved to 3-5 in the NWC.

Sarah Fincher (So., OH, Reno, NV/Bishop Monague HS/Southwest Baptist Univ.) earned 16 kills, a .412 hitting percentage and nine digs for the Bearcats. Lindsey Compton (So., OH/S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Univ. of Hartford) added 10 kills and Alexa Dowdell (Fr., MH/OPP, Mililani, HI/Maryknoll HS) produced nine kills and 10 digs.

WU setter Emily Compton (Sr., S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) provided a solid match with 38 assists, 12 digs and three block assists. 

Tiffany Burk topped George Fox with 12 kills, while hitting .296. Erin Sprowls accumulated 11 kills and Karlee Jo Sampson finished with 10 kills. Libero Chelsea Wilson of GFU contributed a match-high 21 digs.

The first set included 15 ties and six lead changes. Willamette held a 12-11 edge following a kill by Kirsten Brehmer (Sr., MH/OPP, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS). GFU tallied the next point, but WU answered with four consecutive points to open a 6-1 run, as the Bearcats built an 18-13 lead.

George Fox countered with a 6-0 run to claim a one-point advantage at 19-18 on a kill by Sampson. The teams were tied four more times before Willamette moved in front, 24-23, on an attacking error by the Bruins. Sprowls earned a kill for GFU during the next rally.

After WU took a 25-24 lead on a combo block by Shannon Waltz (Sr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra School for Girls) and Lindsey Compton, the Bruins surged into the lead on kills by Erin Campbell and Burk. An attacking error by WU provided the final point in GFU's 27-25 win.

A 6-1 run by Willamette in the second set produced a 17-10 margin for the Bearcats. The Bruins won eight consecutive rallies, including seven points with Kelsea Meyers serving, to surge into an 18-17  lead. Willamette stopped GFU's streak with a kill by Holt. Several points later, the teams were tied at 20-20.

The Bearcats added kills by Carly Hargrave (Sr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) and Lindsey Compton for a 22-20 edge. GFU cut the margin to a single point, but WU scored three times in a row for a 25-21 victory.

Willamette and George Fox combined for 11 ties and eight lead changes in the third set. The final tie was at 18-18 before two kills by Fincher gave the Bearcats a slim edge. A little later, WU owned a 23-20 margin. GFU cut the lead to 23-22 and 24-23, but a kill by Dowdell ended the set.

After playing through 33 ties and 17 lead changes in the first three sets, the Bearcats took command early in the fourth set and led all the way. One service ace from Emily Compton and another from Waltz, plus a serving error by the Bruins, helped WU take an 8-2 lead. The Bearcats eventually held advantages of 14-7 and 18-11 before closing the match with a 7-2 run.

Fincher and Dowdell each pounded out four kills for Willamette during the fourth set.

Both teams blocked well during the match, as GFU registered 11.0 total blocks and the Bearcats achieved 9.0 total blocks. Kylee Adderson led George Fox with one block solo and six block assists. Waltz earned five block assists for the Bearcats.

Willamette achieved a .210 hitting percentage, while George Fox hit just .138. WU also registered six service aces and committed just four serving errors. GFU ended the match with four service aces and 11 serving errors.

Up next for the Bearcats is a home match against NWC rival Whitworth University on Friday, Oct. 18. Match time is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 3
George Fox University 1
WU won 25-27, 25-21, 25-23, 25-13

Post-match Interviews

Willamette's Sarah Fincher blasted 16 kills, hit .412 and earned nine digs.

Willamette's Sarah Fincher blasted 16 kills, hit .412 and earned nine digs.