Recap | Box Score
WHITMAN 3, GEORGE FOX 0: Missionaries Block Out Bruins for Split of Season Series
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Utilizing their defensive strength at the net, the Whitman College Missionaries, who rank 18th nationally in blocks per set, recorded 10 blocks in handing the George Fox University Bruins a 3-0 setback (25-20, 25-23, 25-23) in Northwest Conference women’s volleyball Friday night here at the Sherwood Center.
Both teams are now 9-11 overall and 7-6 in conference play, tied for fourth in the league standings. The season series was a split, the Bruins having taken a 3-2 victory in their first meeting in Newberg, Ore., on Sept. 28.
The Missionaries, who averaged 2.23 blocks per set coming in, were led by Olivia Nielson with six block assists, and Courtney Brewer and Megan Bafus with four block assists apiece. Nielson ranks ninth nationally with 1.29 blocks per set. Their net gains helped the Missionaries hold the Bruins to a .136 hitting percentage for the match (42-25-125) while producing a .250 mark (42-14-112) of their own. The Bruins were playing a third straight match without their own leading middle blocker, Tiffany Burk, who ranks 45th nationally (1.03 bps) but has been sidelined due to a concussion.
Whitman led the opening set from start to finish after taking a 2-0 lead on a Bruin attack error and a block by Brewer and Rachel Cline. A kill by Erin Campbell brought the Bruins within a point at 8-7, but that was as close as they would come. The Missionaries had seven-point leads four times, the last at 24-17 following a kill by Cline. Two spikes by Lucy Capron and one by Campbell made it a four-point game before a Bruin attack error ended their comeback and the set.
Kills by Brewer, Nielson, and Jillian Davis gave Whitman a quick start to the second set, and the home team extended the lead to 17-10 following a George Fox service error and two attack errors before the Bruins mounted a rally. Campbell and Capron had three kills each in a 12-5 Bruin run that knotted the game 22-22. Cline hit a winner before Cassie Irwin did likewise for the Bruins, but a Bruin hitting error and a kill by Becca Gotz enabled the Missionaries to survive.
The third set was a back-and-forth nail-biter featuring 13 ties, four lead changes, and only one margin larger than two points. That came late in the set when the Missionaries broke a 19-19 tie with a kill by Davis and two Bruin hitting mistakes for a 22-19 lead. The Bruins tied it again with a kill by Capron, a block by Campbell and Kylee Adderson, and an ace by Capron, the league leader in that category. After trading points on a Bruin service error and a Campbell kill, the Missionaries secured the match with a kill by Bafus and, appropriately, a final block by Bafus and Nielson.
Capron led all hitters with 19 kills while hitting .356 and Campbell added 14 for the Bruins, who also got 36 assists from Payton Shrum. Defensively, Chelsea Wilson made 14 digs and Capron 11. Adderson, Shrum, and Jessie Vahalla each had two blocks assists.
Davis had 14 kills to pace the Missionaries, while Brewer chipped in with 10 and a .421 attack percentage. Cline handed out 35 assists. Davis picked up 14 digs and Rachel Shober contributed 11.
NEXT: George Fox visits Whitworth University Saturday for an early 4:00 p.m. start ... Whitman hosts Lewis & Clark College Saturday, that one starting at 5:00 p.m.