Bearcats Sweep Linfield, as Klotz Registers Double-Double with 12 Kills, 20 Digs

Natalie Klotz (So., OH/OPP, Bonner Springs, KS/Bonner Springs HS)
Natalie Klotz (So., OH/OPP, Bonner Springs, KS/Bonner Springs HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Natalie Klotz (So., OH/OPP, Bonner Springs, KS/Bonner Springs HS) of Willamette University pounded out 12 kills and earned 20 digs, as the Bearcats swept past Linfield College, 3-0, in a Northwest Conference volleyball match at Ted Wilson Gymnasium on Wednesday, Oct. 16. The Bearcats improved to 5-13 on the season, including 4-5 in the NWC. Linfield fell to 5-16 overall, as the Wildcats dropped to 1-8 in the NWC.

Klotz was the only player on either team with double-digit kills, but she had plenty of help from her teammates. Jennifer Lane (Sr., MH, Salinas, CA/Notre Dame HS) and Dani Queja (Fy., OH, Ewa Bach, HI/Maryknoll School) each added nine kills, while Kyana Benjamin (Jr., MH, Lubbock, TX/Lubbock HS) and Brooke Lohuis (Fy., S, Dublin, CA/Dublin HS) each contributed eight kills. Benjamin hit .500 for the match with only one error on 14 total attacks.

On defense, Klotz led four Bearcats with 10 or more digs. Emma Porter (Fy., S, Honolulu, HI/Mid-Pacific Institute) provided 17 digs and accumulated 38 assists. Shyla Sato (Fy., LIB/DS, Honolulu, HI/MId-Pacific Institute) finished with 14 digs, and Queja achieved 12 digs. Lane led all players with six total blocks. The Bearcats hit .226 and held the Wildcats to a .066 hitting percentage.

"It was another good team effort! Emma moved the ball around a lot tonight (as the setter) and kept Linfield a little off balance. We also played some pretty good defense at times, winning a lot of the longer rallies. It was nice to get this win mid-week."
— Willamette Head Coach Tom Shoji

Linfield's top attacker was Regan Dean with nine kills. Raelynn Hammock was credited with seven kills. Dean also supplied 21 digs, with Maya Nakasone registering 18 digs. Aylea Dixon dished out 24 assists during the match.

The first set was tied three times in the first 10 rallies, ending at 5-5 on a kill by Queja. Lane brought WU into the lead with back-to-back service aces for a 7-5 advantage. The Bearcats also scored the next three points to complete a 6-0 run and grab a 10-5 edge. A bit later, WU claimed a 15-9 lead on a kill by Lohuis. The Bearcats led by six or more points the rest of the set on their way to a 25-14 win.

In the second set, Willamette took a 5-1 lead, but the Wildcats tied the score at 9-9 on a kill by Hammock. Three rallies later, Linfield took its first lead of the set at 11-10 following a kill from Lori Cimmiyotti. WU responded with a 4-0 run that started with kills by Klotz and Lohuis and gave the Bearcats a 14-11 margin. Later, Willamette owned an 18-14 lead after Klotz pounded a kill.

The Wildcats rallied and eventually tied the set at 21-21 on a service ace by Dixon. On the next serve, Dixon committed an error to put WU in front, and then Lohuis tacked on a kill to give the Bearcats a 23-21 edge. Linfield tied the score two more times, including 24-24 on a kill by Kara Thomas that staved off a set point. The Bearcats countered with a kill from Klotz and a kill by Lane to close out the set at 26-24.

Linfield opened the third set with a 2-0 lead, but Willamette quickly regained momentum and surged out to a 12-5 advantage. The 12-3 run included two kills each for Klotz and Lane. The Wildcats pulled within 13-10 on a service ace by Dean. Benjamin responded with a kill for the Bearcats, who later owned a 19-12 lead. WU took the third set, 25-17.

Willamette will host Lewis & Clark College in another NWC match-up on Friday, Oct. 18. First serve at Cone Field House in Salem, Oregon, is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).