Homecoming crowd fuels series sweep over Linfield

JAKE BILYEU
Sports Writer
bilyeujc@plu.edu

(3) Junior Julia Hutchison returns service against Linfield.

The Pacific Lutheran Volleyball team kept the homecoming spirit going Friday night with a three set sweep of Linfield.
The win brings the team’s overall record to 11-6 and their conference record to 5-3, just one game behind Whitworth for second place in the Northwest Conference.
The first set opened up with both teams trading points until the Lutes seemed to take control by going up 14-9, forcing a timeout. Linfield rallied back to even things up at 15, but the Lutes’ Homecoming crowd brought the energy, and their home team responded by taking the first set 25-23.
“The fans make it fun,” Head Coach Kevin Aoki said. “As soon as they started going, we started playing more of our style.”
The second set began just as the first did.
The Lutes didn’t seem to waver as they used the crowd noise to their advantage and turned a 7-7 tie into a 17-9 lead, and eventually a 25-16 set win to go up two sets to none.

“The fans really gave us some energy,” senior Kylai Cooley said. “We could tell it affected the other team, too.”

The Lutes jumped ahead of Linfield from the start of what would be the third and final set. Coach Aoki called a timeout with one point left in the game to let the support from the fans really sink in. The team then finished off Linfield, winning the third set 25-12.

(18) first-year Mackenzie Harris elevates to deflect a spike.
(18) first-year Mackenzie Harris elevates to deflect a spike.

After the contest, fans and alumni stuck around to celebrate the tradition that winning has become for PLU volleyball.

“PLU has such a great athletic community,” Cooley said. “It’s great to be a part of this positive environment.”

“We’ve come a long way, both in the rule books and with our victories,” Aoki added. As far as his team’s progress is concerned, he’s not too worried. “We are improving, that’s the key.”

The Lutes will hit the road this weekend to take on Whitworth(5-2) at 7:00 p.m. Friday, followed by a match with Whitman (2-5) at 5:00 p.m. Saturday.

 

PHOTOS BY BAILEY PLUMB 🅼

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