By Alli Kieckbusch– Student Writer
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – It was a Halloween Nightmare for the Whitworth Pirates volleyball team on Wednesday night at Whitman.
Whitworth's hopes for a Northwest Conference title took a severe hit with a five set loss to the Whitman Blues. The Bucs (18-8 overall, 12-3 NWC) came into the night tied with Pacific Lutheran for first place, but dropped to second place as regular season play wraps up.
The Blues improved to 9-14, 5-10 with the 25-22, 25-16, 17-25, 22-25, 15-10 victory.
Whitworth traded points with Whitman in the first set. A kill from Jessica Schmautz gave the Bucs a 6-4 lead, but the Blues rallied to take the lead 11-10. Iris Tinkhonov pounded one to put the Pirates ahead 16-15, followed by her block with Lauren Budde. Schmautz had another kill and an ace to give the Bucs a 20-18 lead, but the Blues finished with a 7-2 run and sealed the set with a service ace by Codie Conching.
The Pirates fell to the Blues early in set two, giving up an 8-2 lead after a couple of errors. A kill from Schmautz pulled the Bucs within 16-9. A block from Madison Douglas and Budde tightened Whitman's lead to 21-16, but the Blues pulled away to win the set easily.
At the halfway point of the match the Pirates were hitting only .025 and Whitman already had 14 blocks.
Douglas started the third stanza with a kill, and Addy Woolery had a service ace to put Whitworth up 7-6. The Bucs stretched their lead to 17-14 on a kill from Emiko Kahler. Three consecutive kills from Douglas clinched set three, keeping Whitworth in the match.
Tinkhonov's kill gave Whitworth an 11-7 lead in the fourth set. The Blues pulled into a 19-19 tie on a kill by Sierra Myers. Whitworth forced several Whitman errors, and Kahler pounded one to take the stanza, forcing the game to a fifth set.
Schmautz finished with 19 kills while Budde and Kahler had 11 kills each. White dished 46 assists and had 16 digs, and Douglas contributed 10 kills as well.
Whitman served 11 aces, four from Claire McCarthy. Cali Anderson had 13 kills, and Codie Conching added 11. Myers was in on 13 blocks.
The Pirates will close the 2018 regular season against Linfield College in the Whitworth Fieldhouse at 6pm on Saturday night.