Volleyball faces double loss

Leina Panui, Staff writer

All it took was blocks and kills for Pacific to pass Linfield on Wednesday’s match in the Ted Wilson Gymnasium. The Wildcats came up short as the Boxers were able to take home the win after three straight sets.

It was a tough battle for the Wild- cats in the first set as it was continuous back-to-back plays; kill after kill; dig after dig. The Boxers came out aggressive and determined the pace in the first set.

“We were prepared for the aggressiveness that Pacific brought and we knew we would have to bring it and match it,” sophomore Taylor Souza, libero for the Wildcats said. “Pacific put up a strong block and outplayed us on some of the little things.”

The first set ended with a loss of 22-25.

The Wildcats were unable to re- deem themselves in the second set, with the Boxers putting up an even tougher fight.

“As a team, we were just trying to be resilient. Letting go of the past set and moving on to what’s important now,” Souza said. The team had to pull themselves together for the next set, but the aggression the Boxers brought was hard for the Wildcats to keep up with and the set ended at 19-25.

With the Boxers still dominating in the third set, the Wildcats struggled to catch up. But at the last minute, the ‘Cats were able to gain a 4-point lead

causing the set to go into over-time. It was a fight to the end, but the Wild- cats soon lost their fire and the set ended 26-28.

“Third set, we had our same goals: good passing and serving and we were aiming to have a 60 percent side out rate [getting the ball back],” Souza said. “After the game, we were bummed but we knew we would just have to work harder during practice that week and bounce back.”

With a tough loss, the Wildcats quickly prepared themselves for their next match on Saturday against Puget Sound on their home court.

“We are preparing for the next game by improving our serving and passing. It’s the key to being able to put the balls away and put the other teams out of system,” Souza said.

Going into the game, the Wildcats were confident traveling to Washing- ton. Their spirits were lifted for this match and they walked onto the court with a whole new game plan.

“Our plan was to go out fighting hard, keeping our forced errors below 8 in each set, have a 60 percent side out rate and serve as hard as possible,” freshman Hannah Waterman, outside hitter for the Wildcats, said.

“We’ve been really focusing on huddling up and coming together after every point – to play as a team rather than 6 individuals on a court,” Waterman said. The Wildcats were able to start off strong in the game

by taking the first set with a score of 25-19.

Yet the fire didn’t last for long, as the Loggers came back and took the second set, 21-25. Wildcats weren’t going to go down without a fight in the third set as they hit the Loggers back hard with a 25-15 win. The back and forth battle led the teams into a fifth set.

“UPS came out fighting hard after we got them in the third set pretty badly, and we just started to hit in the block and make little errors,” Water- man said. “They wanted it more than we did – we let each little error build up.”

The Loggers took home the win by taking the last two sets.

These two tough losses for the Wildcats have been a game changer with the season coming to an end.

The ’Cats have a conference record of 3-11 and overall record of 9-12.

Volleyball plays next at home against the Whitman Blues 7 p.m. on Saturday and the Whitworth Pirates at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

“To prepare for Whitman, we are going to relish our last week of practice, hitting the floor for every ball and focusing on drills that will limit our errors and get us out of our heads,” Waterman said.

From here on out, it will be blood, sweat, and teamwork for the Wildcats as they set their eyes on finishing the season strong.