November 4, 2011

GEORGE FOX 3, PUGET SOUND 1: Bruins Deal Loggers’ NCAA Hopes Serious Setback

NEWBERG, Ore. – Outside hitters Erin Campbell and Stephanie Kerr combined for 27 kills, leading the George Fox University Bruins to a 3-1 upset of the University of Puget Sound and seriously damaging the Loggers’ post-season hopes in Northwest Conference women’s volleyball action Friday night here at the Wheeler Sports Center’s Miller Gym. 

The Bruins posted a 25-14, 25-20, 18-25, 25-21 win over the Loggers in their home finale, improving to 10-14 overall and 5-10 in the conference.  Puget Sound dropped to 17-6 overall, 9-6 in the NWC, and lost any chance at finishing second in the conference, which might have strengthened the Loggers’ case for an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament.  Whitworth University wrapped up the NWC title and automatic bid to the tournament with a win over Lewis & Clark College Friday, and Pacific Lutheran University will get second place.

Kerr was the catalyst for the Bruins in the first set, pounding down six kills in seven attacks for a .857 mark.  As a team, George Fox sizzled with a .432 percentage (18 kills and two errors in 37 attempts).  The Bruins broke a 9-9 tie with a 7-0 run behind the serving of Brooke Molloy and five kills, three of them by Kerr, and coasted from there.

The Bruins dropped off to a .095 hitting percentage in the second set, but secured the win by holding the Loggers to a .000 mark.  The Loggers built a 12-8 lead before the Bruins rallied with another 7-0 run, again with Molloy serving and Campbell capping the outburst with back-to-back winners, to take a 15-12 lead.  After UPS regained the lead at 17-16, the Bruins reeled off eight points in a row for 24-17 advantage, with Chelsea Wilson serving two aces to spearhead the run.  Campbell hit another winner to close out the set.

Puget Sound never trailed in the third set (the only tie was 1-1), hitting .258 to .036 for the home team.  Brynn Blickenstaff and Jackie Harvey led the Logger assault with four kills each.  Ahead only 11-10 midway through the set, the Loggers scored six points in a row to take control with a 17-10 lead, Stephanie O’Connor winning half the points with service aces.  The Bruins got no closer than four thereafter, and Harvey ended the set with a spike.

The fourth set began tightly, with six early ties, the last at 9-9.  The Bruins took a 12-9 lead on two attack errors by the Loggers and a kill by Molloy, and maintained a slim lead the rest of the way.  UPS got within one for the final time at 20-19 on a combination block by Blickenstaff and Jaime Ecklund, but the Bruins responded with a surprise kill by setter Mackenzie Teigen, a combo block by Campbell and Tiffany Burk, and a kill by Campbell to pull away.  Campbell ended the match with her fifth kill of the set.

Campbell had 14 kills and hit .205, and Kerr hit 13 winners with a .357 percentage to lead the Bruins.  Teigen passed out 24 assists, and Wilson had 12 along with four aces.  Molloy made 13 digs, Patti Reeves 12, and Teigen 10, while Burk anchored six of the Bruins’ seven team blocks with one solo and five assists.

Blickenstaff had nine kills, Ecklund eight, and Harvey seven to lead the Loggers, and Erika Greene handed out 28 assists.  Juliette Witous picked up 15 digs, Marissa Florant 11, and O’Connor 10 for the defense.  Ecklund had three block assists among the Loggers’ 5.5 team blocks.

It was the final home match of the season for George Fox seniors Reeves and Kerr, who were honored in pre-game ceremonies for their fine Bruin careers.  Kerr ranks seventh in all-time blocks at George Fox with 210, and Reeves will end her two-year career as the Bruins’ all-time leader in digs per set (currently 5.46).

NEXT: George Fox finishes the season at Yamhill County rival Linfield College while Puget Sound visits Willamette University Saturday, both matches starting at 7:00 p.m.

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