Loggers struggle in surprising defeat to Whitman

Loggers struggle in surprising defeat to Whitman

TACOMA, Wash.—It wasn't quite the sendoff they had in mind for the seven seniors of the University of Puget Sound volleyball team Saturday night. The Loggers surprisingly fell in three sets to Whitman at Memorial Fieldhouse in Tacoma, Wash.

The Missionaries outhit the Loggers all night, hitting for a better percentage than the Loggers in all three sets. In the first one, Whitman hit .171, tallying 14 kills as opposed to eight errors. They also took leads of 14-9, 19-12, and 24-17. Down to their last point in the set, the Loggers earned four straight points thanks to the a couple Whitman attack errors, an Emily Convery kill, and a Jackie Harvey assist. Whitman's Shae Kanakaole led all players with five kills in the first set, while Jillian Davis also added four for the Missionaries. The Loggers had three players with two kills each to open the match as they hit just .031 as a team.

The second game opened much like the first with Whitman down just one halfway through the match. The Loggers then took a 19-15 set lead, but the Missionaries won 10 of the final 14 points in the set to come back and take a 2-0 set lead in the match. Puget Sound committed four errors in that stretch, while the Missionaries made just two. The teams were separated by just one percentage point in that set, with Puget Sound hitting .145 while Whitman hit .155. The five errors for Puget Sound, all tended to come at inopportune times.

In the third and final set, the Missionaries took a 15-10 lead, then extended it out 19-12, and finally 22-14. It was at this point the Loggers fought back, winning six straight points—two from aces by Harvey, two on Logger kills, and two on Missionary errors—to cut the lead Whitman lead to 22-20. The Loggers used up too much in the comeback, however, fell 25-22 in the set. In the third, Whitman hit for a tremendous .341, including 17 kills and just three errors. The Loggers, however, hit .146 in the final set, killing 12 balls while making five attack errors.

"It was pretty straightforward tonight," said Mark Massey, head coach of the Loggers. "We actually did a good job of serving them out of their offense, and even in broken plays their hitters outhit our hitters. They had 47 kills, we had 33: that's the match right there. You lose by two or three points and you get out-hit by that margin, then you're going to lose. It's unfortunately we weren't able to get a few better swings, especially after we had served them out of their offense.

Making matters worse for Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran won in five sets over Whitworth, retaking full possession of first place in the Northwest Conference with two matches to play. The Loggers (17-6, 12-2 NWC) will wrap up the regular season next weekend taking on Willamette and Pacific. They play at Willamette at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, and at Pacific Friday, Nov. 9, also at 7:00 p.m.