By Nick Barene, Sports Writer
Saturday night brought another tough game for the volleyball team, as the Lutes needed five sets to take down the visiting Whitworth Pirates on Senior Night.
The first set was a back and forth battle that included 15 ties and seven lead changes. The two teams had fought all the way to a 21-21 tie when the Lutes rattled off the final four points to earn a 25-21 set victory.
The second set proceeded in the fashion of the first, with the two teams working hard to score points. PLU once again came out on top though, winning 25-20.
In the third set, the momentum began to shift in favor of Whitman. The Lutes held an early lead, only to have the Pirates come back and win the set 25-21.
In the fourth set the Pirates asserted themselves as a strong attacking team, striking quickly and storming to a 25-16 set victory to force an overtime frame.
The Lutes jumped out to a 12-7 lead in the final set, but Whitworth would not go quietly. The Pirates bounced back to cut the Lute lead to 14-13. For the match winning point, Amy Wooten smashed home her 11th kill of the night.
The Lutes are graduating four seniors: Bethany Huston, Becca Holtgeerts, Haley Urdahl and Allison Wood.
Head Coach Kevin Aoki spoke highly of his senior players.
“When you have four seniors, they make major contributions,” Aoki said. “It’s hard to play four years. We hold our seniors in high esteem.”
The Lutes now sit atop the northwest conference with a NWC record of 13-1 and an overall record of 17-5.
The team is staying focused on the last games of the regular season and is not concerned with their placement.
“We still have some work to do,” Aoki said.
The Lutes can repeat as NWC Champions if they win their last four games against Willamette, Linfield, George Fox, and Lewis & Clark.
None of those teams have winning conference records, and therefore, the Lutes look poised to head to the NCAA D-III Tournament. ◼︎