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Bruins Bow to Boxers in First Game of Final Home StandSalem-News.com Sports
PACIFIC 3, GEORGE FOX 1
(NEWBERG, Oregon) - Led by a trio of hitters who combined for 38 kills and a .352 hitting percentage, the Pacific University Boxers scored a 3-1 victory (25-22, 25-23, 16-25, 25-17) over the George Fox University Bruins in a Northwest Conference women’s volleyball match Friday night here at the Wheeler Sports Center’s Miller Gym.
Alexa Block and Kelsy Takashima had 13 kills each and Mariah McHolland added 12, with hitting percentages of .229, .545, and .524 respectively, as the Boxers improved to 5-18 overall and 4-11 in the conference. The up-and-down Bruins, who only a week ago knocked off the University of Puget Sound while the Loggers were in first place and nationally ranked, dropped to 10-15 overall and 5-10 in the NWC after falling to the last-place team in the league. The Bruins’ home struggles continued also, as they are now only 1-8 on their home floor.
The Boxers blocked their way to a first-set win with six team blocks, including three solo blocks by Lychelle Kirby-Roberts. Pacific built an early 8-2 lead on a kill by setter Danica Thompson, but the Bruins fought back to tie it 15-15 on a kill by Kristin Knaupp, then went ahead 17-15 as the Boxers committed attack errors on the next two points. Down 18-16, Pacific seized control with six unanswered points featuring two kills by Block and closed out the set on a block by Takashima and McHolland.
Using eight kills and two service aces by Chelsea Wilson, the Bruins jumped out to a 14-6 lead in the second set and appeared ready to even the match before the Boxers rallied with a string of six points in a row to get back into it. A set error enabled the Boxers to tie it 15-15, and there were six more ties before a Bruin attack error gave Pacific the lead for good at 23-22. Two more George Fox hitting errors around a kill by the Bruins’ Betsy Wilhelm gave the set to the visitors. Pacific hit a sizzling .471 in the set, with 19 kills and only three errors.
In the third set, the Bruins trailed only once at 3-2 after a McHolland kill. A Pacific service error broke a 4-4 tie and the Bruins gradually pulled away, building a 10-point lead at 24-14 on a block by Isabel Valentine and Ali Toedtemeier. The Bruins picked up the set on a concluding Pacific service error.
Two Bruin attack errors and a kill by Takashima gave Pacific an early 3-0 lead in the fourth set, but the Bruins bounced back to knot it 9-9 on two kills by Wilhelm and an ace by Valentine. The Boxer took off from there, however, regaining the lead on a McHolland kill and scoring six more in a row for a 16-9 lead behind the serving of Thompson. The Bruins got no closer than five the rest of the way, and the Boxers closed out the match with a winning attack by Block. Pacific hit .357 in the set to .027 by George Fox.
Valentine led the Bruins with 13 kills and a .321 hitting mark in the match, Wilhelm added 12 kills, and Stephanie Kerr had 10. Knaupp had eight kills and a team-high .400 hitting percentage. Toedtemeier passed out 45 assists to move within 40 of 2,000 for her career. Patti Reeves made 18 digs, and Valentine had three blocks (one solo, two assists).
Danica Thompson set up the Boxer offense with 44 assists, and Jade Thompson paced the Pacific defense with 18 digs while Mari Kondo added 10. McHolland had seven block assists out of the Boxers’ total of 12, and Kirby-Roberts had five (three solo, two assists). Pacific hit .259 (52-17-135) in the match to .146 (49-28-144) for George Fox.
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