by Katelyn McLean | Staff Writer
Whitworth volleyball had an exciting week at home, beating Whitman 3-0 on Wednesday, and following that up with an intense battle against Pacific on Friday, winning 3-1.
The game against Pacific was an intense hitting matchup, causing a need for adjustments on both offense and defense.
“On defense, we just made sure that we were really fluid in how we were moving, so our blocks, we made sure to stop and not keep floating,” junior libero Kiana Vandaele said.
“We were just trying to talk a lot about our timing, making sure that we weren’t up too early and just making sure we were together and pressed,” Coach Katie Bodecker said.
Senior outside hitter Emiko Kahler had an excellent game, especially in the third and fourth sets to catch Pacific’s defense off guard.
“At first it was supposed to be just hitting, but then I realized they were camping on me so I decided to change it and start tipping, which seemed to be pretty effective.”
Kahler’s hitting had a big impact on the game. She said the overall momentum of the game seemed to increase in the third and fourth sets.
“I feel like it was definitely a momentum shift, and, I mean, the team was already playing super well by that point so I think it just kind of helped seal the deal,” Kahler said.
The win wasn’t an easy one, and there were quite a few errors, specifically service errors, on both sides.
“I think it just affects the flow of the game. It’s hard to go on scoring runs when you miss your serves, and for us that’s something that normally is a strength of ours is to serve tough and not miss serves, but I think that’s something that we found to be an obstacle for us tonight and I think we’re going to continue to work on doing that better,” Bodecker said.
Whitworth won the third set 28-26 after some intense back-and-forth points and great plays on both sides.
“All that was going through my head was just to want the ball and not be afraid of it because it was so close and we can’t be scared during those moments, so just want it and put it away,” Vandaele said.
“It was super awesome, lots of excitement. It’s always great to get a home win in a super close game,” Kahler said.
The Bucs are having an impressive statistical debut to conference play. Kahler is leading the NWC in kills per set as well as total kills. Senior Iris Tikhonov is second in the conference in blocks per set with 1.08.
Overall, Bodecker said she was proud of how her team fought through adversity during the game.
“Sometimes things just weren’t going our way but we found a way to win, and that’s the most important thing,” she said.
Whitworth volleyball travels to Salem, Oregon on Friday, October 4 to face Willamette University.