Young team makes noise in conference ranks

Kaelia Neal, Editor-in-chief

Even with no seniors to lead the team, Linfield volleyball made noise in the Northwest Conference this weekend with its wins against Willamette and Lewis and Clark at home.

The Wildcats easily defeated the Bearcats in three sets Friday night.

“I think it was a good starting game because we got to work out all of the little kinks and get into a rhythm with each other,” Taylor Souza, ’20, said.

“We worked very hard to pull out the two wins,” Eryka Keoho, ’19, said. “We work together, and we fought until the end.”

Linfield had 44 kills, almost doubling Willamette’s. Darian Stedman, ’19, led the ’Cats with 13 kills.

The Wildcats and the Pioneers battled during the first two sets Saturday night.

In the first set, Lewis and Clark won 26-24. In the second set, the ’Cats and Pioneers were back and forth until Linfield took the set 32-30.

From there, Linfield found a rhythm, and stomped on Lewis and Clark 25-14 and 25-11 to win the game.

“We came out a little bit flat the first set and had a few unforced errors that we could have minimized, but we were super resilient and turned it around in the second and third set,” Souza said.

Across the board, the two volleyball teams were similar in terms of statistics. Linfield edged out Lewis and Clark from in all components of the game.

Linfield had 49 kills, 47 assists and 75 digs while Lewis and Clark had 44 kills, 42 assists, and 74 digs.

“I think we did a good job executing and finishing, which is something we always practice,” Souza said.

Linfield’s record is now 8-1 this season, and the volleyball team is ranked first in the conference.

Souza said what is making this team win is that the players are all friends.

“I know it sounds crazy, but we genuinely all get along so well, so our court is always fired up,” she said.

She added that having more depth on the team has made a difference as well.

To prepare for Pacific Lutheran and George Fox this weekend, Souza said the team is going to focus on serving and passing.

Keoho said the team is going to work hard every day to get better on the court.

Linfield faces Pacific Lutheran 7 p.m. Friday at home and George Fox 7 p.m. Saturday at home.