COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL — Pirates win battle of 'Whits'

Whitman contests the third set but still loses in three to Whitworth on Wednesday.

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WALLA WALLA - With 20 kills between them, Kaimi Rocha and Amanda Grumbach provided just enough offense to carry Whitworth University to a 3-0 volleyball victory (25-19, 25-16, 26-24) over Whitman College Wednesday in the Sherwood Center.

Whitworth, now 2-1 in the Northwest Conference and 5-5 overall, controlled the first two sets before Whitman (0-3, 3-8) got its offense untracked in game three.

The young Missionaries, playing without juniors or seniors, led 6-3 early in the third set and stayed close the rest of the way.

The Pirates rolled to a 15-12 lead, but Whitman rallied to forge ties on points 18, 19 and 20. Kills by sophomores Carrie Cecil and Olivia Nielson netted the latter two deadlocks.

After Whitworth eased in front 23-20, thanks to a Bree Riddle kill and a service ace that was at first called out, Whitman made a final push.

Two kills by first-year outside hitter Jillian Davis, who paced Whitman's attack with nine kills, and a Whitworth attack error helped the Missionaries even the count at 24-24.

But the last of Rocha's 12 kills, followed by a block at the net by Brynn DeLong and Randi Stephens, gave the Pirates the last two points and the match.

Whitworth got the early jump in game one, bolting to leads of 7-2, 12-5 and 18-10 before closing out the set.

Kills by sophomore Courtney Brewer and Davis keyed a 4-1 Whitman lead to start game two. But after a Davis service ace gave the Missionaries an 8-7 lead, Whitworth took charge with an 9-2 spurt and won.Brewer, who added eight kills to the Whitman offense, teamed with Nielson for a strong defensive night at the net. Both players had five blocks.

First-year setter Rachel Cline handed out 26 Missionary assists and led the back-row defense with nine digs. Davis added eight digs for Whitman.

Whitworth got nine digs each from Rocha, Jordon Hoffnagle and Whitney Santos. Stephens had five blocks while Riddle was collecting 24 assists.

Whitman stays at home Friday to host a 7 p.m. NWC match against George Fox. Whitworth welcomes George Fox to Spokane for a 6 p.m. match on Saturday.

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