NEWBURG, Ore. – The Whitworth University volleyball team dropped a pair of matches at the Oregon Trail Classic on Saturday at George Fox University.
Augsburg University defeated the Pirates in five sets, while Gustavus Adolphus College swept the Bucs. Both schools expect to challenge for the title of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics Conference.
Cassandra Mendoza had 28 kills to lead Whitworth in the two matches Saturday.
The Pirates (2-2) will be back in action next weekend at the Cal-Lu-Fornia Invitational in Thousand Oaks, California.
Match 1 – Augsburg 3, Whitworth 2 (25-22, 25-18, 33-35, 19-25, 15-9)
After trailing by two sets, the Pirates held off elimination in a long third set and then forced a fifth set before ultimately losing to the Auggies.
Whitworth led for much of the first set before Augsburg used a 4-0 run to grab a 15-13 lead. The Auggies stretched the margin to 23-18 before holding on 25-22. Augsburg took the second set thanks to a 10-3 run that opened a 12-6 lead.
The Pirates held off three match points to pull out the dramatic third set. Augsburg led 24-23, 29-28 and 33-32 before Whitworth finally won 35-33 by scoring the final three points. Mendoza had two of the final three kills.
The Pirates opened a 24-14 lead late in the fourth set before Augsburg rallied to within 24-19, forcing a timeout. But Mendoza came out of the timeout with a set-clinching kill to even the match at two sets each.
Augsburg used the momentum of its late run in the fourth set to grab control of the fifth set. The Auggies never trailed and hit .538 in the frame with 7 kills in 13 attacks.
Corrina Evans and Taylor Linn had 18 kills each for the Auggies (4-0).
Match 2 – Gustavus Adolphus 3, Whitworth 0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-21)
The nationally-ranked Gusties hit .287 and rolled to a sweep of the Pirates.
No Whitworth player hit double figures in kills. Corinne Bell led the Bucs with nine kills and a .533 hitting percentage. She also had two service aces and was in on a pair of block assists.
Whitworth had a chance to force the match beyond three sets, grabbing a 20-19 lead after a block and a kill by Lauren Budde. But Gustavus outscored the Pirates 6-1 the rest of the way.
The 24th-ranked Gusties improved to 4-0, thanks in part to 10 kills and a .556 hitting percentage from Lauren Hanson.