Volleyball season had bittersweet final note

Kaelia Neal, Editor-in-chief

The Linfield volleyball team concluded its season to place seventh in the Northwest Conference with a 5-11 record.

“I feel that this season was definitely a learning experience,” junior Taylor Peterson said. “Growing pains is what I like to call it.”

Head coach Shane Kimura ended 40 years of coaching at Linfield with an upset against the No. 2 ranked Whitworth Pirates on Nov. 4.

“Shane leaving is without a doubt a definite loss to the program but behind him, he’s leaving a legacy and a standard of excellence that we all need to uphold whether he’s our coach or not,” sophomore Taylor Souza said.

Throughout the season, the Wildcats had highs and lows. They started off the season with a six-game winning streak.

Later, they went on a seven-game losing streak, which wasn’t broken until a 3-1 win against Lewis and Clark Oct. 14.

From there, the Wildcats went on another losing streak, but redeemed themselves by upsetting No. 4 ranked Whitman on Nov. 3 and No. 2 ranked Whitworth on Nov. 4. Both games were won 3-1.

Linfield ended its season with an overall record of 11-12. The team finished ahead of No. 8 Willamette and No. 9 Lewis and Clark. Pacific Lutheran led the conference with a record of 14-2.

“While the wins and losses don’t exactly represent how I feel we did, by looking at the improvements we made individually and as a team, our season was extremely successful,” Souza said.

“As a team we learned how to be resilient. We learned how to take the losses and move on. As our coach would say, we learned how to ‘Win the next play.’”

Souza also found individual success as she earned herself a starting spot this season.

With no seniors on the team and the retirement of Kimura, Linfield volleyball is in a rebuilding state. Athletic director Garry Killgore said he hopes to select and announce the new coach by Jan. 1.

“I’m excited for what’s to come. There will be an abundance of change, that’s for sure, but I know it will be good for the program,” Peterson said.

“I’m sad to see Shane leave, but I know it is an exciting time in his life. So it’s very bittersweet.”