SPOKANE, Wash. – Emiko Kahler had 23 kills to help Whitworth withstand a stiff test by visiting Puget Sound with a five set Northwest Conference volleyball victory on Saturday night.
The Pirates defeated the Loggers 25-13, 27-29, 25-21, 23-25, 15-13 to improve to 15-5 overall and 9-1 in the NWC. Whitworth retains first place in the conference standings. Puget Sound fell to 11-11, 6-4.
The Pirates rolled to a win in the opening frame by hitting .440 as a team. Whitworth never trailed, thanks in part to seven kills in the set by Kahler.
Trailing 24-20 in the second set, the Loggers were on the verge of going down two-sets-to-none. But Puget Sound scored four straight points to tie the set 24-24 on a kill by Jordan Holman. After the teams traded leads three times, the Loggers tallied the final three points of the set to pull it out, finishing on a block by Melanie Siacotos and Alli Reviglio.
The third set included 10 ties, the final one coming at 19-19. At that point the Pirates outscored UPS 6-2 down the stretch, winning the frame on Kahler's kill. Abby Wolverton had seven kills in the set for Whitworth and the Bucs hit .317 as a team.
The fourth set was another tight one with ten more ties and three lead changes. Kahler's kill tied the game 23-23, but Puget Sound got a kill from Siacotos and a Pirate error to send the match to a fifth game. The Loggers hit .294 in the fourth set, their best frame of the match.
Puget Sound took a 7-4 lead in the decider, forcing a Whitworth timeout. But the Bucs rallied to tie the set. Then the teams tied it eight more times and traded leads three times. The Loggers took a 12-11 lead on a kill by Tallie Davidson before Whitworth closed on a 4-1 run. Iris Tikhonov and Madison Douglas had kills on the final two points of the match for the Bucs.
Kahler hit .316 and added 20 digs for Whitworth. She had 43 kills in the weekend sweep of Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound. Wolverton finished with 18 kills, while Tikhonov had 14 and Douglas totaled 11. Douglas was also in on five block assists. Saylor Anderson and Joelle Forbes combined for 61 assists.
Davidson led Puget Sound with 17 kills and Holman had 13. Addison Baker came off the bench for 11 kills. Sarah Blumenfeld had 34 assists, 11 digs and four service aces.
Whitworth will hit the road for matches at Whitman (Wednesday) and Pacific (Saturday) next week.