Commanding finish sends Pioneers to third straight home win

Commanding finish sends Pioneers to third straight home win

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers closed out Friday's match against the Linfield Wildcats with a dominant four-set victory. After dropping the first game, the Pioneers roared back for a 22-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-11 win.

The victory is the third-in-a-row for the Pioneers at Pamplin Sports Center.

Ka'anelaokapu'uwai Pakaki-Pias had five of her match-high 12 kills in the fourth set. Kayla Valdez brought up no less than seven digs in each of the sets that the Pios won.

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Key Moments

Despite a first-set loss, the Pioneers outhit Linfield in the opener. Makena Ohlmaier had five kills on her way to a .316 hitting game, her fourth consecutive match doing so when trying more than 10 attacks.

"We did a lot of hitter-versus-hitter this week in practice and it helped," Ohlmaier said. "It helps us stay out of our heads, stay in zones and get kills on the court. 

"We executed early in this game and now we need to be more consistent throughout matches."

Lewis & Clark found consistency through their final three sets on Friday. After 14 ties and seven lead changes in the opening game, there were eight combined in the final three sets.

"Coming from the Pacific game [last weekend], that really fired ourselves up for practice," Valdez said. "We needed to hold ourselves to a higher standard and tonight we did."

The Pioneers held serve on stretches by Kelsey Parker and Kendall Malone in the second set and built a 16-8 lead. Malone, who finished with 11 kills, landed three straight aces during her run, which matched her career best in a game. 

Lewis & Clark (6-5, 2-1 NWC) didn't distance itself as quickly in the third set, but the Pios held Linfield to .087 hitting. The Wildcats (4-11, 0-3 NWC) were led by Regan Dean's eight kills in the match. Much like their teammates in the second set, Ohlmaier and Pakaki-Pias had big serving runs in the third. As a result, the Pios went up 23-14 and won the match on three kills by Malone over their final four points.

Deeper Look

  • For the second time this season, Valdez surpassed her career high for digs after she reset it against Marian earlier this month
  • Pakaki-Pias had her third double-digit kills game in her last four matches and she's hit over .200 in each 
  • She hit .265 on Friday, a season best when she's tried more than 30 attempts
  • Michelle McGinn had four kills, 39 assists and two blocks, her fourth game with 30 or more assists this season
  • Her 13 digs are her most in three matches and her 25 attack attempts are a new career high
  • A starter on Friday, Grace McCullough matched her career best with two blocks
  • The Pioneers had five with double-digit digs including Parker, Malone and Pakaki-Pias  who had 11 apiece
  • Lewis & Clark's win is its third straight over Linfield

Looking Ahead

Lewis & Clark hosts Puget Sound to round out the weekend on Saturday at 6 p.m. Last time the teams met, the Pios beat Puget Sound for the first time since 2011.