Heartbreak at home for women’s volleyball

Lexi Kerr, Sports Editor

After two losses on the road, the ‘Cats battled the Willamette Bearcats and the Lewis & Clark for their first games at home, but were unable to take the win. The Bearcats won 3-0 on Friday night and the Pioneers won 3-1 on Saturday night.

Linfield fans packed the home side of the bleachers during the ‘Cats’ first home game on Friday, but traveling Bearcat fans created a competitive atmosphere, leading chants against the Wildcats and banging on pans and bells.  

The ‘Cats were down in points for the majority of the first set, losing 18-25, but kept up the high energy to keep a close score in the second set.

Despite the Bearcat’s winning the first two points, the ‘Cats kept the score close and were never down more than one or two points. Sophomore Brianna Sanford broke Linfield’s lose streak with a kill and the team went on to maintain a 5 point streak, making the score 14-13.

Linfield maintained the lead up until it was tied 22-22, but the Bearcats pulled ahead to finish the second set 25-22.

The result of the third set was no better than the second, but the ‘Cats were still able to keep a close score in the beginning. Freshman Ani Keliiheleua broke the team’s losing streak with a kill, scoring a total of 3 kills in the third set. However, the Bearcats kept the lead to finish the final set 25-14 and win the

“We all know the game should’ve ended differently,” Keliiheleua said. “In our post-game locker room discussion we got very real about how our play needs to step up.”

The ‘Cats knew Saturday’s game against the Pioneers would be tougher than going against the Bearcats. Keliiheleua said they would have to win the mental game in order to take the win.

And the Wildcats were sure contestants in the mental game. After the Pioneers won the first set 25-20, Linfield was able to win the second set 25-20, making the night a closer competition than the previous game. Nonetheless, the ‘Cats struggled in the mental game and the Pioneers secured the next two sets with final scores of 25-19 and 25-16.

After the weekend, the Wildcats sit 5-7 overall and 0-4 in conference. The team will have another opportunity to score its first conference win when the ‘Cats play on the road against the George Fox Bruins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 28 at George Fox University.

“All we can do is go up from here,” sophomore Mattie Kelly said after Saturday’s game. “We are focusing on having a strong mind, and an ‘all in’ mindset. Not matter the outcome we want to leave the gym proud of the effort we put in.”