Volleyball splits on the road to end on a high note

Whitworth volleyball split games on the road the weekend of Nov. 2, losing to the Pacific Boxers 3-2 before finishing the season with a win against the Linfield Wildcats 3-1.

The Pirates found themselves in a hole to start the match as Pacific quickly went up 5-0. Whitworth steadily made its way back, forcing 12 ties and three lead changes in the set, including a run of three kills in a row from junior outside hitter Jalana White to tie the game at 15. The Bucs took their first lead of the night off of a Boxer attack error and then carried on to win the set 25-22.

“We fought really hard,” White said. “We didn’t start out strong but we finished strong and pulled it together about halfway through the set.”

Pacific jumped ahead again in the second set 6-3 but Whitworth came back again, taking the lead 10-9 on a kill from junior outside hitter Abi Hedlund. The Boxers trailed the Pirates before coming back to tie the game at 22 and then 23, then a kill from junior middle blocker and Pacific errors gave Whitworth a 25-23 win.

Whitworth got down in the third set 6-3 but fought back with kills from Hedlund and junior middle blocker Briauna Stadeli and an ace from freshman setter Maddye Dinsmore to tie the set at 14. The Bucs went up 18-15 before Pacific went on a run to win the set 25-21.

“Our communication fluctuates,” junior libero Whitney Santos said. “Sometimes we’ll be really loud and positive, sometimes we’ll be really quiet and that was the key factor in our change in play.”

Pacific kept the momentum and took advantage of a single lead change in the fourth set to gain control of the lead and win 25-21, tying the match 2-2 and forcing a fifth set.

The Boxers took the lead in the final set 5-2 but the Pirates challenged that when a kill from Hedlund and a kill from White followed by a service ace tied the game 8-8. Pacific shut down the run before Whitworth could challenge any more to win the final set 15-10.

“We took them to five games and it was a tough match,” Santos said. “We played with heart and we played with everything we had and I think that’s what’s so commendable about our team – we always play our hardest and we never give up.”

Despite the loss, Whitworth was able to carry the strong match against Pacific into the game against Linfield the next night and come out to win the first set 25-20.

“We played at about the same pace we did the day before,” head coach Steve Rupe said. ”We were able to finish plays and finish rallies. We just played a solid match.”

The Wildcats led in the beginning of the first set but kills from White, Hedlund and Stadeli gave the Bucs the lead 4-3. Whitworth gradually widened the gap, with its largest lead at 22-12 on a service ace from sophomore defensive specialist Katie Adams, and went on to win 25-16.

Linfield found a rhythm in the third set of the night, taking advantage of Pirate errors early, and went up 2-0. Whitworth worked to take the lead away, going on 6-0 and 4-0 scoring runs, but the Wildcats led the rest of the set to win 25-23.

A kill from junior middle blocker Kristine Kardell put the Pirates up 1-0 to start the fourth set. Whitworth pushed to control the speed and the Wildcats kept up through the whole game to force multiple match points in a set with a total of 14 ties.

“Every time they tied it up with us we sided right back out,” Rupe said. “We finally broke through with a side out and then made good defensive plays.”

At 27-27, the Bucs’ final sideout came from a kill by freshman outside hitter Nicole Leonard, followed by a kill from Hedlund to end the match 29-27.

Whitworth finished the season with a record of 10-13 overall and 6-10 in conference, and the last half of the season proved to be promising for the year to come.

“We had a rough start to the year and there’s a lot of adversity that happened on our team,” Santos said. “To know that we’re good enough to compete with good teams and since we’re all coming back, that’s just really exciting for us.”

Megan John Staff Writer

Contact Megan John at mjohn16@my.whitworth.edu.

Bucs fall short against Missionaries and Bearcats

Whitworth volleyball faced the Whitman Missionaries and the Willamette Bearcats last weekend, coming up short in both games.

The Pirates had a rough start against Whitman, opening with two attack errors and never fully recovering. Whitworth kept it close until the Missionaries were able to pull away from a 6-5 lead to take control of the game and go on to win 25-12.

“We have to make a better first move on the block to funnel the ball where we want it to go and we are not doing that,” head coach Steve Rupe said.

Whitman pulled out a strong second set with 15 kills and 1 error, which the Pirates were unable to match. The Missionaries took an early lead but two kills in a row from junior outside hitter Jalana White brought the Pirates to within two, making the score 8-6. Whitman countered with a 10-0 run and went on to win the set 25-8.

Despite being down 2-0 in the match, Whitworth responded with its best set of the night with nine kills and its best hitting percentage of the three sets.

“The team needed to focus on playing with no regrets and playing for each other and once we did we played awesome,” freshman outside hitter Nicole Leonard said.

The Pirates led for the first half of the game and were up by as many as five points before Whitman came back to tie the set at 14 points before taking the lead. Whitworth kept the score close, but the Missionaries stayed ahead to win the set 25-22 and the match 3-0.

“We are currently struggling to find our offense. Our transitions and defense is not what it was at our last home matches,” Rupe said.

In Whitworth’s game on Saturday, Willamette jumped ahead of the Pirates early with a 9-2 lead. Whitworth was unable to catch up as the Bearcats kept the energy and won 25-15.

The second set began with a Whitworth lead followed by eight back-and-forth points before Willamette broke away and had two big scoring runs to win the game 25-11.

“We need to be more aggressive with our first ball side outs and keep our serve so we go on runs,” Leonard said.

The Pirates took the first point of the next set and this time went on to win 25-21. The Bearcats forced seven ties and four lead changes before Whitworth took back the lead with eight kills. White had three of these eight kills and Leonard had two along with an ace.

Willamette capped off the Pirates’ momentum in the fourth set, immediately going up 4-0. The Bearcats steadily increased their lead over Whitworth to win the final set 25-14.

“We showed some good fight both nights in the face of adversity and I believe that you will see the same team at home this weekend that beat UPS,” Rupe said.

Whitworth’s next game will be this Friday against Lewis & Clark at 7 pm in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

Megan John Staff Writer


Pirate volleyball splits NWC contests at home

Whitworth volleyball split games at home last weekend with a loss to the Pacific Boxers and a victory against the Linfield Wildcats. Whitworth started out slow and lost the first set against Pacific 25-15. The Pirates came back ready for the second set, doubling the number of digs and nearly tripling the number of kills in the set, giving Whitworth the advantage and a 25-13 win.

“Their outsides were their strength,” head coach Steve Rupe said. “You have to shut them down, and we did at times and we didn’t at other times.”

Pacific started off the third set with a 4-0 run, but a kill from junior outside hitter Jalana White ended the run and began Whitworth’s comeback. Back-to-back kills from freshman outside hitter Nicole Leonard followed by a service ace by junior outside hitter Abi Hedlund gave Whitworth an 11-10 lead, and Whitworth never looked back. The Bucs kept the momentum and won 25-20, giving the Pirates a 2-1 advantage.

The fourth set was the closest of the night, with 11 ties and five lead changes throughout the game. The last lead change came at the very end when the Boxers fought back to win the fourth game 25-23, which forced a fifth set.

Pacific took the first point of the last set and lead 8-3 before Whitworth started to come back. Kills  from White, Leonard and Hedlund brought the Pirates to within two points of the Boxers in the final points of the game, but Pacific managed to get the match point and win 15-13.

“We are so close and I think that just motivates us even more,” said junior middle blocker Briauna Stadeli, who finished the night with seven kills.

Leonard finished the night with 20 kills and 12 digs, White had 14 kills and five digs, freshman setter Maddye Dinsmore had 21 digs and senior libero Whitney Santos had 15 digs.

Whitworth played another five set match the next day against Linfield and this time they came out on top, 3-2. Rupe said that the goal going into the Linfield game was to build on what they started and to play with passion and energy from start to finish. Whitworth did just that and won the first set of the game 25-14.

“It was our goal to win the first set and be really energetic,” White said. “We came out strong and that was really important to us.”

Linfield put up a fight in both the second and third sets, winning 25-22 and 25-20. The Wildcats capitalized on Whitworth errors but the Pirates continued to match their points and keep both sets close.

Whitworth managed to turn the game around in the fourth set. After five ties and five lead changes the Bucs won 25-22, tying the match at two games apiece.

“This group just doesn’t give up and that’s nice to see,” Rupe said. “Even though we were down in the third set they still came back.”

The Pirates proved their resilience late in matches when they found themselves down 5-1 in a game to 15. The Pirates steadily decreased the Wildcats’ lead and a service ace from Dinsmore tied the game 8-8.

Linfield would tie the game three more times but never took the lead back and the match ended with Whitworth winning the last set 16-14.

“We finally just clicked,” Leonard said. “We had a really good week of practice and it was finally clicking and it’s such a relief.”

Leonard ended the night with nine kills and 13 digs, White had 20 kills and 16 digs, Hedlund had nine kills and 10 digs, Dinsmore had 20 digs and Santos had 31 digs.

“I think that a lot of the teams we’ve played are going to underestimate us,” White said. “Our goal now is to just end as the strongest team in the conference. We want to be the hardest team to play.”

The Pirates will kick off the second half of the season this Friday at the Whitworth Fieldhouse against Pacific Lutheran at 7 pm.

Megan John Staff Writer

Contact Megan John at mjohn16@my.whitworth.edu

Spotted from the Crow's Nest: Whitney Santos, volleyball

When fans watch senior Whitney Santos on the volleyball court they notice her energy and effort. What they probably don’t notice is that she wears the same bow every game and that she always wears two left socks. She sits in the same seat before every game and uses the same pen to write, “Do work and win” on the bottom of her paper every single game.

But the success of Whitworth’s superstitious libero can’t only be attributed to the luck of following her rituals. It is her standout work ethic and energy that allow her to be such an important part of the volleyball team.

“Whitney is a total stud,” teammate Kristine Kardell said. “You know that she’s fast and that she’s agile. She’s going to make any play that’s possible for her to make.”

Santos started playing volleyball competitively when she was in sixth grade, and since then her passion for playing the game has continued to grow.

“Volleyball is my life. It’s my escape and I’m super-competitive,” Santos said. “Volleyball just allows me to compete and do something I love at the same time.”

This spirit she exudes is seen on and off the court and spreads to her teammates, inspiring them to follow her example.

Her competitive drive and team-first attitude have made Santos an integral part of the volleyball program. After redshirting her freshman year, Santos returned in the 2010 season and was named Second Team All-NWC as a libero.

“She motivates you to work hard because you see how hard-working she is,” Kardell said. “It’s easy to slack off when someone else is, too, but when she is constantly giving her all it makes everyone else on the court want to push themselves harder as well.”

Santos’ motivation comes from her competitive mindset and willingness to do whatever it takes to benefit the team, as well as trying to make her family proud.

Already averaging over 15 digs per game this season, Santos is looking to continue to use her strengths to have a positive impact on the team.

“I have a spark of energy,” Santos said. “I might not have the most technical or fundamentally sound fundamentals, but I bring a lot of energy and spark on the court and try to spread my energy because I have such a competitive spirit.”

Santos also brings the team together in ways not necessarily seen on the court during games, but also in ways that stand out to teammates and coaches.

"She really brings the team together with her sense of humor,” Kardell said. “She’s able to have fun on the court and brings not only her competitive athleticism but also a sense of humor. We always say ‘The happy team always wins,’ and she helps make that happen.”

Santos’ leadership comes from a love of the game and a love for her team.

“The whole is greater than the individual here and everyone on the court next to you is like your family,” Santos said. “I consider every one of my teammates as a sister and I love all of them dearly. We care so much about each other on and off the court.”

The love, dedication, effort and influence Santos brings to Whitworth volleyball will continue to play a huge role in the success the Pirates have this season.

Megan John Staff Writer

Contact Megan John at mjohn16@my.whitworth.edu.

Sports Recap October 3

Pirates pass first conference road test The Whitworth football team extended its still-perfect season for yet another week in a win against the Boxers of Pacific University on Saturday, 28-25. The Pirates advance to 5-0, already exceeding the total victories from last season. Sophomore quarterback Bryan Peterson had a standout performance, passing for a career-high 354 yards, including three touchdown passes. Senior wide receiver Jake DeGooyer led the Bucs with eight receptions and a touchdown on the day. Senior running back Ronnie Thomas was again an integral force for Whitworth, rushing for 134 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore linebacker Nic Brockhoff had eight tackles and sophomore defensive back Paul Miller had seven tackles to lead the Pirate defense. The Bucs are back at the Pine Bowl this Saturday for homecoming, taking on the 4-0 Willamette Bearcats.

Women’s cross country places ninth in Oregon

The women’s cross country squad came home with a ninth-place finish at the 38th Annual Charles Bowles Invitational hosted by Willamette University on Saturday. This finish also gave the Bucs a third place finish out of six NWC teams in the event. Sophomore Christina Anderson (18:49.10) and junior Elisabeth Spencer (18:50.54) were the first Pirates to cross the line in the 5k race, coming in at 20th and 21st out of a field of more than 200 runners. Although the Bucs finished behind NWC rivals Willamette (6th) and Linfield (7th), they managed to come in ahead of Whitman (14th), George Fox (19th) and University of Puget Sound (20th). The Pirates have a weekend off, but will return to competition Oct. 13 at the Inland Northwest Challenge in Lewiston, Idaho.

Volleyball falters in NWC road matches

Whitworth traveled to Oregon to play the Lewis & Clark Pioneers and George Fox Bruins last Friday, falling to both teams in three sets. The Pirates kept the first set close against Lewis & Clark until midway through the game when the Pioneers took control and pulled away from a 10-10 tie, going on to win 25-16. Lewis & Clark kept the momentum during the second and third sets with  25-21 and 25-18 victories to earn the win. The Bucs faced George Fox on Saturday. GFU won the first set 25-18, but Whitworth came out strong in the second set and took an early lead. The Bruins came back from behind quickly and went on to win the second game 25-17. After five ties and one lead change in the third set the Bruins ended the match with a 25-20 set victory. Whitworth was led in the two games by junior outside hitter Jalana White with 18 digs and 23 kills, freshman outside hitter Nicole Leonard with 14 kills and 22 digs. Whitworth will take on Linfield and Pacific Oct. 4 and 5 at 7 pm in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

Whitworthian Sports Staff

Volleyball hosts conference opponents

Whitworth volleyball split games at home this week, falling to the Whitman Missionaries before earning its first win this season against the Willamette Bearcats. The Pirates received the first point of the game against Whitman with a kill by junior Abi Hedlund. Whitman responded with a 7-0 run. Whitworth was unable to catch back up and lost the set 25-18.

Whitworth came out strong in the second set, once again scoring the first point. This time, however, they kept the lead through almost the entire game.

“It’s nice that we can come back after losing the first set, but we have got to figure out how to start better in the first place,” head coach Steve Rupe said.

Solid defense, led by senior libero Whitney Santos, helped the Pirates to a 25-17 set victory.

“Whitney had really great defense tonight. She had a lot of crucial plays that helped us pick up our energy,” junior right side hitter Jalana White said. “We also just worked really hard on finding what was open on the other side and we finally kind of figured them out.”

Whitman took the lead early in the third set before kills from White and freshman setter Shawna Korshavn tied the game at 10. The Missionaries regained the lead with a kill and an ace, and Whitworth was never able to fully recover, losing 25-17.

Santos and sophomore middle blocker Tori LaBrie were catalysts in a competitive back-and-forth match. Just as the Bucs were about to tie the set for the ninth time, Whitman pulled away to win 25-20.

“We’re so close in all of our games and it’s frustrating,” White said. “But once we kind of mesh and start trusting each other more and playing as a team, everything is going to fall in place.”

That became evident in Whitworth’s next game on Saturday night against the Bearcats. The first set alone had 13 ties and eight lead changes, but Whitworth came out on top as a kill from junior middle blocker Briauna Stadeli pulled the Bucs away from an 18-18 tie and into a 25-19 win.

“There was just more thought when they were going up,” Rupe said.  “We were able to funnel the ball where we wanted it to go so we were able to do what we want with it.”

That focused style of play continued into the second set. The Pirates controlled most of the game, with Willamette only leading for a short period of time early in the set, and won 25-21 to put them up 2-0 in the match.

The momentum completely changed in the third game, starting off with a 3-0 lead for Willamette. The Pirates’ defense struggled to keep up and Whitworth was only able to get six kills before Willamette ended the set on top.

Despite the difficult third set, Whitworth was able to come back and win in a final fourth set.

“We never give up, we fight for every ball, and that shows in our play,” Santos said. “It shows on and off the court and the crowd can see it as well.”

Another momentum shift allowed Whitworth to come back from the third set loss. As the Bucs played longer and harder, the crowd grew more excited and the team responded.

“It feels so good to have all the fans just yelling and everyone getting so excited,” LaBrie said. “The excitement really helps pump you up and it’s just a lot of fun. I love it.”

The excitement grew throughout the entire fourth set, starting with a kill by freshman outside hitter Nicole Leonard to give Whitworth its first lead of the set, and ending with a kill by Hedlund for a 25-23 win over Willamette.

In the fourth set alone Whitworth had nine blocks, led by two apiece from LaBrie and Stadeli.

“We really came together as a team and everybody completely contributed,” LaBrie said. “There was not one dominant person. It was just everybody working together and working their hardest.”

Whitworth expects to continue to find rhythm and improved play as it anticipates the hopeful return of two injured players, Maddye Dinsmore and Kristine Kardell.

The Pirates go into their next week of conference play looking for two more wins while on the road against Lewis & Clark on Wednesday and George Fox on Saturday.

Megan John Staff Writer

Contact Megan John at mjohn16@my.whitworth.edu

Pirates bested by ranked foes

Whitworth began league play by facing two nationally ranked schools, Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound last weekend on the road. Despite being closely contested matches, Whitworth lost both. In the league opener on Sept. 14, Pacific Lutheran took hold of an early lead and held on to win the first set 25-13. Whitworth responded well in the second set, working its way to an 8-4 lead, but faltered down the stretch as PLU took off toward the end of the set and won 25-19.

The Pirates continued to improve and put more pressure on PLU, stepping up defensively and offensively, which resulted in a third set 25-18 victory.

“We sped up our transitions and attacked the ball more quickly so that they could not get their big block set,” head coach Steve Rupe said.

The fourth and final set was close again with several ties and lead changes throughout the game before PLU pulled away to a 25-20 victory.

“I was proud of how we never gave up and came out even stronger after losing the first two sets,” freshman Nicole Leonard said.

She had 10 kills and 26 digs against the Lutes.

Whitworth was led by junior Jalana White, who had 14 kills, 18 digs and five blocks along with junior Kristine Kardell who had 10 kills and three blocks.

“We played very scrappy and worked really hard for every single point,” junior  Abi Hedlund said. “We never once gave up even if we were down in a game, which speaks really highly to our team.”

With the goal of competing for the conference title, Whitworth came out strong in their match against Puget Sound.

“After the PLU game, we saw how quickly we could play, so we wanted that to transfer that over to our game against UPS,” Hedlund said. “We wanted to focus on moving and transitioning quickly, and once again shut down their go to players.”

Puget Sound started the first set with a 4-0 run, but Whitworth kept close for the rest of the game, a 25-19 loss, and into the second and third sets.

“We played more consistently point for point which kept UPS from going on runs,” Leonard said.

The Pirates continued to pressure UPS, as the second set alone saw 17 ties and seven lead changes before the Loggers could finish the set 25-23 and win the match after three games.

Leonard, junior Whitney Santos and Hedlund led the Bucs in digs with 18, 15 and 14 apiece, in addition to 13 kills for Leonard and nine for White.

“We battled very well we really feel that we can play with them when we are at full strength,” Rupe said. “We showed a competitive nature and that we will never give up. I love that about this team. When they get knocked down they jump right back up.”

Whitworth will take on Whitman at home on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m. as they look to improve their 0-2 league record and climb up the ranks of the conference standings.

Meghan John Staff Writer

Contact Meghan John at mjohn16@my.whitworth.edu