Pirates Pull Out Five-Set Win at PLU

Pirates Pull Out Five-Set Win at PLU

PARKLAND, Wash. – Emiko Kahler had 18 kills and 14 digs to lead Whitworth to a five-set road victory over defending Northwest Conference champion Pacific Lutheran in the conference volleyball opener for both schools on Friday night at Olson Auditorium. 

The Pirates (7-4, 1-0 NWC) defeated the Lutes (7-6, 0-1) 25-17, 13-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-10 for their first road win in the series since 2016.  That was also the last season Whitworth won an NWC title.

The Pirates used a 12-1 run in the first set to open a 17-6 lead.  Abby Wolverton had back-to-back kills and Kaitlyn White had back-to-back aces in the run.  Madison Douglas ended the set with a kill for the Bucs.

PLU raced out to a 16-5 lead in the second game, turning the tables on Whitworth's fast start.  The Pirates struggled at the net, hitting -0.135 with only five kills and 10 errors in the frame. 

The Lutes appeared to take control of the match by winning the third set.  Whitworth led 13-11 when PLU used a 10-3 run to open up a 21-16 advantage after a kill by Baylee Johnson.  The Bucs got within 24-21 on Elise Anderson's kill before PLU finished the frame.

Whitworth jumped to a 7-1 lead in the fourth set, retaking momentum in the match.  After the Lutes closed to within 8-6, the Pirates moved back out to a 15-7 lead, sparked by three Kahler kills.   It was another Kahler kill that ended the set and forced the fifth stanza.

Whitworth never trailed in the final set, jumping out to a 6-2 lead after a block from Abby Wolverton and Iris Tikhonov.  PLU pulled within 13-10 before Whitworth got the final two points on a block from Tikhonov and Kahler and an ace by Anderson.

Wolverton added eight kills, while Madison Douglas finished with five kills and six block assists.  Kiana Vandaele dug 17 balls on defense.

Danielle Skibiel had 21 kills for PLU to go along with seven block assists.

Whitworth will complete its conference-opening weekend on Saturday with a match at Puget Sound.