Sports & Outdoors

Volleyball suffers setback in loss to NWC rival Pacific Lutheran

Women’s volleyball at Puget Sound has been having yet another successful season, maintaining their reputation as one of the top teams in the Northwest Conference and the number 10 ranking on the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s top 25 poll.

On Wednesday, Oct. 3, the Loggers were momentarily sidetracked by their rivals from across town. Although Puget Sound beat Pacific Lutheran University in the season-opening tournament, the Loggers (12-4, 6-2 NWC) were stunned in an straight-set upset at home to PLU, another top contender from within the NWC and a team ranked number 17 on the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s top 25 poll.

The Lutes, who have yet to lose a NWC game this season (14-2, 8-0 NWC), came out strong to defend their flawless conference winning streak. The Lutes clearly outhit the Loggers, who had a season-low .077 hitting percentage in the opening set, to take the first set 25-20.

The Loggers put up a fight in the second set, but the Lutes took a commanding lead at the very end to pull out a 25-22 win.

The story in the third set was much the same, with the Loggers competing hard and throwing in a few key aces from sophomore Kelsey Lee (Honolulu, Hawaii) and a kill from sophomore Nicolette Reynaud (Los Gatos, Calif.) to stay even with the Lutes early in the set.

The Loggers remained even with the Lutes for most of the set, even pulling ahead 23-20 late in the set. The Lutes, however, fought back and won five straight points to capture the final set 25-23.

The loss to Pacific Lutheran threatens the Loggers’ chances of clinching the top spot in the NWC, a position which PLU comfortably holds by a two-game margin.

“I would say that against PLU we came out with a lot of confidence in our game, but in the end they played with more heart than we did. We also probably made one too many errors at the end of each game,” junior Jackie Harvey (Santa Barbara, Calif.) said.

“I feel like because of our loss on Wednesday night that we will have to fight really hard the rest of season and just hope that PLU drops a game or two to have a shot at winning Conference this year. Overall, the games we’ve lost recently were not ideal, but we’re coming out with a new game plan to hopefully still pull out a Conference title,” she continued.

Coming off of the upset on Wednesday night, the Loggers took to their home court again on Oct. 6 against Lewis and Clark (6-11, 2-6 NWC). Their commanding straight-set victory certainly should improve their confidence, and shows that the Loggers certainly belong in the top ranks of the NWC.

The Loggers started off the game strong with a forceful .270 hitting percentage to capture the first set 25-15. Not allowing the Pios to hit above .100 for the entire match, the Loggers continued to outhit Lewis and Clark to capture the second set 25-20.

In the third set, Puget Sound’s offense again proved to be too much for the Pios, and the Loggers captured the third set  25-13 with a .310 hitting percentage.

Harvey had 13 kills—six of which came in the third set—and 12 digs, while junior Jenni Brehove (Vista, Calif.) recorded 36 assists and junior Kristen Best (Woodburn, Ore.) contributed to the team’s total blocks.

The Loggers face Whitman and Whitworth away in eastern Washington next weekend.