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October 10, 2010

Moore, DeWalt Lead Lutes Past Linfield

PARKLAND - Kelsie Moore collected 13 kills and Missy DeWalt added 10 as Pacific Lutheran defeated the visiting Linfield Wildcats in a Northwest Conference volleyball match played  Sunday afternoon at Olson Auditorium.

PLU won the match, 25-15, 22-25, 25-18, 25-11, improving its overall record to 13-4, while Linfield is now 7-9 overall and 5-3 in the Northwest Conference.

The win improved the Lutes' conference record to 7-1, moving them into a tie for the top spot with Puget Sound and Whitworth after the first half of the NWC schedule. The four-time defending champion Lutes lost to Puget Sound on Wednesday, and earlier in the season Puget Sound lost to Whitworth the night after PLU beat Whitworth. The battle for the conference crown will come down to the second half of the season.

The Lutes were particularly sharp in the first and fourth sets, hitting .257 in the opener and .433 in the final set, and had a .236 attack percentage for the match. Linfield had a stellar .343 attack percentage in winning the second set.

With the Lutes holding a 16-12 lead in the opening set, Blair Bjorkman served five straight points to put PLU on top, 21-12, effectively putting the set into PLU's column.

In the second set, the Lutes took a 15-9 lead on a kill by Allison Wood, and they still led 20-16 on Moore's kill. That's when the Wildcats started their comeback. Samantha Lau served two straight service aces to pull the Wildcats within a point at 22-21, and Kelsey Ludin followed with a kill to tie it at 22. Two consecutive PLU attack errors brought it down to set point, and Tara Hill finished it with a kill.

PLU came out with a venegance in the third set, building 10-point leads on several occasions and never leading by less than six points the rest of the way.

The Lutes finished it off in the fourth with their best set of the night. They led 5-1 early and later scored nine unanswered points, eight on Beth Hanna's serve, to take a 19-6 lead. At that point, both coaches brought many of their players off the bench to finish the set.

In addition to the outstanding play by Moore and DeWalt, Sarah Beaver contributed 40 assists, while Moore and Blair Bjorkman both had three of the Lutes' 11 service aces. Bjorkman also chipped in 18 digs to the winning effort.

Ludin led the Wildcats with eight kills, Cora Hall had 20 assists, and Samantha Lau finished with 17 digs. Linfield had six team blocks compared to five for PLU.

The Lute return to action next Friday when they play at Whitworth in a battle of conference co-leaders.

- PLU -