SPOKANE, Wash. – Emiko Kahler pounded 20 kills to lead Whitworth to a sweep of visiting Pacific Lutheran in a Northwest Conference volleyball match on Friday night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The Pirates (14-5 overall, 8-1 NWC) won 25-14, 25-23, 25-16 to retake sole possession of first place in the NWC volleyball standings thanks to tonight's victory and a loss by Pacific (Ore.). Defending NWC champion PLU falls to 12-9, 5-4.
The Pirates staked an early claim to this match by dominating the opening set. Whitworth never trailed, turning a 5-4 lead into a 19-6 advantage with a 14-2 run. The Pirates hit .182 in the opening set while the Lutes struggled to find the court with their attacks and hit -0.075. Kahler and Abby Wolverton each had four kills in the game.
The second set was much different with 12 ties and eight lead changes. PLU took a pair of three-point leads mid-way through, the second when a Pirate attack error put the Lutes up 14-11. Whitworth rallied to take a 17-15 lead after three straight PLU errors. The Lutes responded and went up 20-18 after a Pirate error before Whitworth scored three straight, capped by a Kahler kill. Kahler then had the final two kills of the set to give the Bucs a 2-0 advantage. Kahler had nine kills in the set for the Bucs.
The final set was tied 9-9 before Whitworth took control with a 9-2 run. Kahler had three more kills in the rally, and seven total in the set, leading a Pirate offense that hit .306 in the frame. A PLU service error ended the match in Whitworth's favor.
Kahler hit .447 in the match with only three errors in 38 total attempts. Wolverton added eight kills, while Madison Douglas was in on five blocks (2 solo, 3 assists). Saylor Anderson combined for 34 assists and Kiana Vandaele dug 17 balls. Whitworth hit .220 as a team and finished with seven team blocks.
Kahler was presented a ceremonial ball recognizing her 1,000th career kill prior to Friday night's match.
McKenzie Pfeiffer led PLU with eight kills, while Danielle Skibiel had seven as the Lutes hit .044 as a team. Emily Dulaney dished 28 assists and Halle Hetzler added 18 digs.
Whitworth will take on Puget Sound on Saturday night at 6:00 pm.