Fincher Registers a Double-Double, Bearcats Down Whitman, 3-1

Willamette Blasts 51 Kills, Limits Missionaries to 35 Kills

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University volleyball team amassed 51 kills, and outsider hitter Sarah Fincher (So., Reno, NV/Bishop Monague HS/Southwest Baptist Univ.) achieved a double-double with 16 kills and 14 digs, as the Bearcats defeated Whitman College, 3-1, on Saturday, Oct. 19. WU prevailed 25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18.

The Bearcats avenged a five-set loss at Whitman nearly a month ago on Sept. 21. In the first meeting, Whitman achieved a .211 team hitting percentage. In the rematch on Saturday, the Bearcats limited the Missionaries to a .032 hitting percentage with 35 kills and 30 attacking errors.

Willamette upped its record to 7-12 on the season and to 3-7 in the Northwest Conference. Whitman ended the night at 6-17 overall, 4-6 in the NWC.

Senior setter Emily Compton (Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.) provided the Bearcats with 43 assists. Fincher's offensive output received additional support from Shannon Waltz (Sr., MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra School for Girls), who pounded 12 kills, and from Carly Hargrave (Sr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS), who finished with eight kills.

Whitman's top attacker was Jillian Davis. She earned 10 kills and led all players with 21 digs. Natalia Zea added six kills and a match-high 10 total blocks, including eight block assists.

In the first set, Willamette and Whitman were tied twice in the early going, but the Bearcats move in front for good at 5-4 on the first of back-to-back kills by Fincher. Willamette then surged out to a 12-6 lead, and went on to achieve a 19-13 advantage. Whitman cut the lead to 21-17on a kill by Megan Bafus, but the Missionaries never got closer as WU won, 25-19.

The Missionaries tied the match by winning the second set, 25-22. The teams were tied eight times during the set -- twice in the first 10 rallies and six times between 15-15 and 21-21. In between, WU held a 14-9 margin, but Whitman went on a 6-1 run to tied the score.

Later in the set, the Missionaries took a 22-21 lead on a block by Zea, and then added two more points on a kill by Shae Kanakaole and a hitting error by Willamette for a 24-21 edge. Hargrave responded with a kill for Willamette, but a service error on the ensuing rally provided Whitman with the final point.

Willamette powered its way out to leads of 8-4, 13-5 and 19-10 in the third set. Whitman struggled to gain momentum, as the Missionaries committed 12 attacking errors and hit negative .068 during the set. The Bearcats contributed to Whitman's struggles by recording 5.0 team total blocks. Whitman managed to cut the lead to 24-20 with a 4-0 run, but WU tallied the next point on a kill by Waltz.

The Bearcats also maintained control for most of the fourth set. Willamette started with a 9-2 run that included five points while Compton was serving. Three of the points were scored on blocks by the Bearcats, with Waltz involved in all three plays.

WU held an 11-5 lead before Whitman used a 3-0 run to pull within three points on a service ace by Hannah Linsenmayer. The Bearcats followed with a 6-1 run for a 17-9 advantage. The Missionaries pulled with 19-15 on a Willamette attacking error, but WU ended the match with a final 6-3 surge.

Whitman finished with 15.0 team total blocks. Zea and her 10 blocks were followed by Rachel Cliff with seven block assists and Madeline Bell with one block solo and four block assists. The Bearcats attained 11.0 blocks, with Hargrave leading the way with two block solos and five block assists. Waltz and Compton each recorded four block assists.

Prior to the match, the Bearcats honored former Head Coach Marlene Piper and her 1995 Willamette volleyball team, which was inducted into the Willamette University Athletic Hall of Fame later Saturday night. Brandi Row Lazzarini ('96), who played on the 1995 team, also was inducted into the Hall of Fame as an individual on Saturday.

Piper, who coached at Willamette from 1994 through 2001, was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a coach in 2011.

Willamette's next match is set for Friday, Oct. 25 at Cone Field House against nearby rival Linfield College. Match time is slated for 7 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 3
Whitman College 1
WU won 25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18

Post-match Interviews

Sarah Fincher of Willamette achieved a double-double against Whitman with 16 kills and 14 digs.

Sarah Fincher of Willamette achieved a double-double against Whitman with 16 kills and 14 digs.