THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Whitworth took a two-sets-to-one lead, but the visiting Pirates could not finish out NCAA Division III West Region host Cal Lutheran in a five-set loss on Friday night at Gilbert Arena.
The 17th-ranked Regals defeated the 23rd-ranked Pirates 18-25, 25-22, 16-25, 25-17, 15-8 to advance to a second round match on Saturday night against Chapman.
Amanda Grumbach had 17 kills and 21 digs for the Pirates. She was one of five Whitworth players to compete in the final match of their careers. Fellow seniors Kaimi Rocha and Ka'ipo Rocha had 16 and 11 kills respectively. Ka'ipo Rocha was in on six blocks, as was Jalana White. Bree Riddle, another senior, had 48 assists.
Whitworth rallied from an early 7-3 deficit to win the opening set going away. The Pirates hit .324 as a team in that frame.
The second set was the closest of the night and CLU pulled away at the very end to even the match at one set each.
Whitworth had total control of the third set after breaking away from a 12-10 lead. The Bucs had a match-best .333 team hitting percentage.
Cal Lutheran started to assert its block in the fourth set, opening a 10-3 lead. Whitworth rallied to within 18-15, but the Regals retook control and evened the match.
Whitworth never led in the fifth set as CLU blistered the court with a team hitting percentage of .647, nailing 11 kills in 17 attempts without an error.
Kylie McLogan had a match-high 19 kills to lead the Regals. Rachel Smith added 13 kills and 16 digs.
Whitworth made its fifth NCAA Division III tournament appearance and the Pirates are now 4-5 all-time.