Malone reaches career high as Pios open with sweep, fall in finale

Malone reaches career high as Pios open with sweep, fall in finale

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Kendall Malone had 17 kills, a new career high, and nine digs to lead the Lewis & Clark Pioneers to a 25-15, 25-23, 25-21 win over the Methodist Monarchs on Saturday. The game was the first of the day and third overall for the Pios in the Oregon Trail Classic at Pamplin Sports Center.

Ending Saturday the Northwest Conference leader in kills per set, Malone hit .371 and helped the Pioneers to .296 hitting or better as a team in all three sets. Makena Ohlmaier and freshman Emma Ehlers each had six kills in the win. Sydney Richardson posted seven digs and Ashley Kane added two aces.

Michelle McGinn had 36 assists, the first 30-plus assists game for the Pioneers since 2017. She had her third straight errorless game attacking and landed a season-high four kills.

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Key Moments

With McGinn at serve, the Pioneers scored five of six points in the later moments of the first set to win it by 10. Lewis & Clark parlayed the momentum into the second set and built a 12-4 lead, a stretch that included three kills by Malone.

"Kendall has made an incredible leap in her game and has started the year hitting insanely," head coach Emily Hayes said. "She has worked incredibly well out of system and utilized different shots." 

McGinn's first games of the season have been exactly what Hayes had hoped for coming into the season.

"Michelle is running 5-1 and has beautiful hands. She's been brillant so far and is giving a ton of confidence to her hitters." 

The confidence has extended to the Pioneers freshmen - Ashley Kane, Grace McCullough and Emma Ehlers - who combined for 11 kills and aces against Methodist.

Deeper Look

  • With nine digs against the Monarchs, Malone has had no fewer than six digs in any of her matches so far this season
  • Ehlers had a team-high three block assists, while Ohlmaier and McCullough added two apiece
  • Isabel Artiaga hit .714 with five kills and four digs
  • Megan Andrews led Methodist (0-4) with 12 kills and a team-high seven digs

Game 2 

The Pioneers took the first set from the Central Dutch before dropping the last three in a 23-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-21 loss in Saturday's finale.

McGinn had 22 assists, 12 digs and two aces in the defeat. Richardson and Kayla Valdez added 12 digs apiece. The nearly two-hour long match saw many back-and-forth sets and long rallies. 

Malone had kills in four of the Pioneers' last five points in the opening set to secure the initial lead in the match.

Key Moments

Ohlmaier left the match in the second set after two kills, two aces and a block. The Pios led 20-17 when she exited, but Central (2-2) worked back to win 26-24.

Kayleigh Fite had three aces to help the Dutch go ahead 9-4 in the third set. Aces from Kane and McGinn along with kills by Malone helped the Pioneers close to within two, 17-15, before the Dutch scored three straight points. 

McCullough had an ace and a kill in the final moments of the fourth set to bring Lewis & Clark within one on her serve after the Pios trailed 19-14. Natalie Gaszynski's ace and Hana Edgerton's kill closed out the match for the Dutch.

Deeper Look

  • In addition to leading the NWC in kills per set, Malone is second in total kills with 47
  • Kane is among the conference's top five in aces per set (0.67)
  • McGinn's seven assists per match ranks fourth in the NWC
  • After Malone, Ehlers and Ohlmaier are the next closest on the team in total kills with 13 apiece
  • Malone also leads the team in digs (34)
  • Richardson has 30 digs through her first four matches of the season after having 11 in eight matches in 2018

Looking Ahead

Lewis & Clark (2-2) heads to the Johnson and Wales tournament next weekend.