PLU Volleyball Rallies for Big Win at Linfield
McMINNVILLE, Ore. - Down two sets to one and in need of a rally to keep alive its Northwest Conference volleyball title hopes, Pacific Lutheran got the comeback it needed to defeat the host Linfield Wildcats in five sets on Friday night.
With its 25-17, 21-25, 25-27, 25-14, 15-11 win, the Lutes finished their regular season schedule with a 19-7 overall record and a 13-3 mark in the conference. PLU is in second place behind Whitworth, which assured itself of at least a share of the conference title with a Friday night win at Willamette. Whitworth is 13-2 in the conference with a Saturday night match at Lewis & Clark still on its schedule.
Beth Hanna had 14 kills, 29 digs and four aces, and Blair Bjorkman matched her teammate with 29 digs as the Lutes won their sixth consecutive conference match. Kelsie Moore added 13 kills and five aces and Erin Bremond added 10 kills and 3.5 blocks for PLU.
With the final set tied at 5-5, PLU took the lead on Rose Mattson's kill and never again trailed. Moore's kill made it 11-7, and Hanna had a pair of kills and a service ace among PLU's final four points to close out the match.
PLU took control of the match with an eight-point win in the first set. After seeing the lead cut to two, back-to-back kills by Kelsie Moore gave the Lutes a 13-7 advantage. Four service aces and three blocks during the game aided PLU's winning effort. The Wildcats struggled during the game, committing seven errors while converting .147 percent of their attack opportunities.
Coming off a loss in the first frame, Linfield bounced back with a tough win in set two. The Wildcats jumped out to a 19-10 lead before fighting off a relentless PLU squad. The Lutes pieced together an 8-2 run, cutting the Linfield lead to 21-18 on a kill from Moore. On the next play, Samantha Lau slammed home a kill to stop the run. The Lutes would not get closer than three points the rest of the way.
With the third set knotted up at 25-25, a Linfield block gave the Wildcats the lead, and Lau finished it with a service ace.
In set four, the Lutes dominated from start to finish. With the game tied at five, PLU put Linfield away with a 14-3 run. Linfield committed 12 errors during the game on its way to an attack percentage of -.098.
Lau was spectacular all evening for the 'Cats with 11 kills and 25 digs.
With its regular season finished, the Lutes wait to find out if they will receive a bid to the NCAA Division III postseason tournament. PLU could tie Whitworth and Puget Sound for the conference championship, but only one team will get the automatic berth in the Division III tournament. Both Whitworth and Puget Sound have a head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over the Lutes. The tournament field will be announced on Monday.
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