Warriors prevail against Whitman in three
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – With the exception of a snag in the second set, the Lewis-Clark State College women’s volleyball team had smooth sailing against Whitman College on Wednesday night. The Warriors, ranked No. 10 in the latest NAIA poll, took down the Missionaries 25-12, 26-24, 25-14 to extend their winning streak to nine.
LCSC now stands at 17-1 overall with a 7-0 mark in Frontier Conference play. With half of the conference season in the books, the Warriors match against Whitman is their only match of the week as the second half of the conference schedule begins next week.
It was business as usual for the Warriors in sets one and three against Whitman. LCSC outhit its opponent .304 to negative .115 in the first, and then topped them .321 to .000 in the final set.
Between sets one and three, however, the Warriors ran into a much less familiar situation.
Up one set to none and accustomed to playing NAIA rules in which a team is allowed an unlimited amount of substitutions per set, the Warriors used the opportunity to give multiple players some time on the court. The Warriors worked to a 13-8 lead, however, the Missionaries turned the tide and grabbed a 21-17 advantage. LCSC then, with no timeouts remaining and already at the NCAA limit of 12 substitutions per set, was forced to rely on its players currently on the floor to change the momentum.
Four straight points later, the Warriors proved that they were up to the challenge as they locked the score at 21-21. Then with the score tied at 24, Nicole Graybeal and Kim Fong came up with a block to take the lead, and Graybeal followed with a kill to end the next volley and clinch the set.
“The second set was good for our players,” LCSC associate head coach Burdette Greeny said. “We were stuck in the second set, but we found a way to get the job done.”
Graybeal helped lead the team with three solo blocks, two block assists, seven kills, and a .778 hitting percentage on the night. Kelli Tikker and Lauryn Herrick also made an impact with eight and six kills, respectively. Fong had 16 assists to go with her two service aces, and Katie Hinrichs had 12 digs and three aces.
Greeny was also happy with the play of some of his non-starters. “For the most part, the players who haven’t had much playing time did a good job for us tonight. In particular, we were impressed with the way Kelsey Williams played.”
Williams came up with five kills in five attempts on the evening.
Overall, the Warriors hit .377 in the match and had seven aces and seven team blocks.
Whitman, which hit .067 overall and is now at 3-12 on the season, was led in kills by Jillian Davis who had 13 in 36 attempts for a hitting percentage of .083. Rachel Cline led with 22 assists.
The Warriors will kick off the second half of the conference season with two matches next week at home. On Thursday at 7 p.m., they’ll face 24th-ranked Carroll College, and then on Saturday at 2 p.m. they’ll play No. 22 Rocky Mountain College.
“We need to get our focus set on the second half of the year,” Greeny said. “It’s not going to be easy. Even though we play five of the seven conference matches at home it won’t be easy because they all will be gunning for us.”