PORTLAND, Ore. -- For the second straight night, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers rallied back from a first-set loss. Unlike on Friday, the Pios failed to close out a 2-1 lead in their match with the Puget Sound Loggers and ended up on the wrong side of a 28-26, 21-25, 26-28, 25-19, 15-12 defeat at Pamplin Sports Center on Saturday.
After the teams switched sides in the final set, Ka'anelaokapu'uwai Pakaki-Pias landed back-to-back kills in the back left corner of the Loggers' floor and Puget Sound took a timeout. Katharine Carley ended the Pios' 3-0 run and evened the match at nine apiece. Michelle McGinn won a duel at the net and gave the Pios a one-point lead before Melanie Siacotos landed a kill to even the match once again.
With the score tied 11-11, the Loggers scored on a Pios' erorr and their own kill, and Lewis & Clark took a timeout down by two. The Pios answered back as Emma Ehlers and Pakaki-Pias combined for a mid-net block before the Loggers scored the final points of the game.
The Pioneers (6-6, 2-2 NWC) nearly had a chance to sweep the match because of the highly-contested first set that Puget Sound ended up winning 28-26. Lewis & Clark rushed back from a 23-19 deficit in part because of three combined kills by Pakaki-Pias and Malone. Tied at 23, the teams exchanged points up to 26-26 and then the Loggers scored the final two. Malone had seven kills and six digs with a .313 hitting percentage in the opening set.
Grace McCullough shined in the second set with three kills, an ace and two blocks to go with five kills from Malone.
Malone added another seven kills in the third as the Pioneers took a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the fourth, the Pios had leads of 6-3 and 12-10 before Puget Sound took control. The Loggers (8-8, 2-1 NWC) hit their worst percentage of the night (.043) in the set, but so did the Pioneers (.000).
"We didn't do the simple things well," sophomore captain McGinn said of the fourth set. "We focused more on our shots, but we need to focus more on little things, too."
- The Pioneers were seeking their best start to a Northwest Conference season since 2015 when they began 4-0
- Lewis & Clark was also after their first back-to-back wins over Puget Sound since at least 2007
- Malone ended with 26 kills on 65 attempts, both career highs, to go with 18 digs
- McCullough also reached career bests with five kills and five blocks
- Pakaki-Pias matched Malone for the team high in digs (18)
- Sydney Richardson averaged three digs per set after playing in two sets
- With six digs, Jenna Timmerman set a new career high
"Our execution of hits off the block was a good thing that we did," McGinn said. "We are ready for next week."
Lewis & Clark hosts George Fox on Wednesday before a home match with Pacific Lutheran on Friday.