Lutes Continue Roll Through Conference Foes
WALLA WALLA - Pacific Lutheran won its sixth straight match, and for the sixth time won in straight sets, as it defeated host Whitman 25-16, 25-17, 25-19, on Saturday afternoon at Sherwood Center.
The Lutes, ranked No. 18 in the AVCA Division III Top 25 poll, improved their overall record to 10-5 and their conference mark to 6-0 by winning their 19th consecutive Northwest Conference match dating back to the 2008 season.
Junior outside hitter Beth Hanna collected a match-high 13 kills and also hit .265 to lead the Lutes. Senior middle blocker Kelcy Joynt also had a strong performance with 11 kills, a .276 hitting percentage and 10 digs. Junior setter Sarah Beaver finished with 25 assists and senior libero Brenna Archibald led the team with 13 digs. The Lutes hit .240 as a team compared to .064 for the Missionaries.
The visitors used a 6-1 run early in the first set to build a 10-4 lead. Whitman drew no closer than four points the rest of the way as the Lutes stretched their advantage to as many as 11 points.
The Missionaries put up their best fight in the second set, bolting a 13-10 lead, but Pacific Lutheran responded with eight straight points to take charge. Joynt had four kills and Hanna two to spark the run.
The Lutes led from start to finish in the third set, although Whitman stayed within two points at 14-12, 15-13 and 16-14. Two kills by Kelsie Moore helped Pacific Lutheran pull away down the stretch.
After four straight conference road matches, the Lutes return home next weekend for a pair of contests. They host Lewis & Clark at 7 p.m. Friday and Willamette at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
- PLU -