Pioneers take down Wildcats in three straight sets

Pioneers take down Wildcats in three straight sets

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers defeated the Linfield Wildcats on the road Friday night in the Ted Wilson Gym, sweeping the match in three straight sets, 25-23, 25-19, 25-20. This is the second time the Pioneers have faced the Wildcats in the season, improving on their precious 3-1 win by sweeping the series.

The Pioneers topped last week's hitting percentage against Pacific, which had been their highest in three matches, at .126. They played tight sets, barely allowing the Wildcats out of a three-point margin either way. The Pios saw a lot of players step up and execute after relying on their depth throughout the match.

Head coach Emily Hayes said of the night, "I am proud of how our team fought and won that one as a program. We trusted each other and had many people step up into a variety of roles. Izzy and Michele stood out as they controlled the court and led with a sense of urgency from start to finish."

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Key Moments

The first set was tight, staying within a three-point margin. The Wildcats put the first point on the board but relinquished the lead after five points and never regained it. The second set had the biggest margin of the night and swung into Pios favor after they evened the score at 14-14. The Pios ended the set with five consecutive points.

The third set saw the Pioneers come from behind to take it back, after finding themselves at a five-point deficit numerous times. The Pios were able to score four consecutive points after taking the lead 21-20 to clinch the game. 

Ka'anelaokapu'uwai Pakaki-Pias and Izzy Artiaga had standout nights, taking big swings and finding ways to score in all the right moments. Michelle McGinn and Pakaki-Pias combined for 31 of the team's 62 digs in the match, while Kendall Malone led the team with 10 kills. Artiaga set an aggressive block in the front row while Emma Ehlers contributed to it by shutting down the Wildcats' best hitters numerous times.

Deeper Look

  • Malone is second in the conference in kills per set with 3.54 and fourth for kills with 241
  • McGinn is fourth in the conference in assists per set with 8.29
  • This is Malone's 15 game with double-digit kills
  • The Pios had seven service aces in the game for the second time this season, which is only two off their season-high of nine
  • Pakaki-Pias and Artiaga combined for six service aces

Looking Ahead

The Pioneers head to Tacoma Saturday to take on the Puget Sound Loggers at 6 p.m.

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