MCMINNVILLE, Ore. — The Occidental College women's volleyball team's eight-game win streak against the Northwest Conference finally came to an end on Sunday with a split on the last day of the Tigers Portland road trip.
Oxy beat George Fox and Pacific (Ore.) on Saturday, and Willamette on Sunday just two hours before falling to Linfield 25-22, 16-25, 34-32, 15-25, 15-12.
Oxy hadn't dropped a game against a NWC team since losing to Lewis & Clark in five sets on Sept. 5, 2009.
Alyssa Mort (Tucson, Ariz.) led Oxy with 29 kills on the day, including a career high 21 in a losing effort against the Wildcats (1-0).
The Tigers open another four-match weekend against No. 24 Trinity (Tex.) at Cal Lutheran on Saturday in their first match against a nationally ranked opponent. Last year, Oxy beat Trinity 3-1 in San Antonio.
Match 1: Occidental 3, Willamette 0
26-24, 25-21, 25-20
In all three sets, it was Kasey Rose (Los Olivos) being Kasey Rose, coming through clutch while making things interesting.
With her team trailing 23-20 in Game 1, the senior outside hitter had a kill, a spectacular dig, an ace and a service error all during a 6-2 that gave Oxy a 1-0 lead. Her incredible defensive play resulted in freshman Sarah Beene (Gilbert, Ariz.) finding freshman Dana Michels (Kirkland, Wash.) to put Oxy up 24-23. Then Mort tooled off a block for a point and Madyson Cassidy (Arcadia) sealed it with an ace.
Oxy controlled Game 2 until a late push by Willamette (0-1) brought them within one, 21-20. But Rose came through with a pair of kills and an ace, and Michels finished off Oxy's 4-0 run.
Game 3 closely resembled Game 2. Oxy held a lead for the entire set until the Bearcats tied it at 20. Then Rose put away back-to-back points and the Tigers rattled off five straight to take game and match.
Rose finished with a match-high 14 kills, Michels had nine and Mort added eight for the Tigers.
Madisyn Leenstra led Willamette with 12.
Match 2: Linfield 3, Occidental 2
25-22, 16-25, 34-32, 15-25, 15-12
AVCA First Team All-American Logan Boyer-Hayse (Boulder, Colo.) led Oxy with 27 kills in her first match this season and Mort had a career high 21.
But Oxy started out slow, lost a pivotal third set, fell behind early in the fifth and had their NWC win streak stopped at eight.
In Game 5, the Tigers just ran out of steam. They fell behind 4-1, then tied the score. Fell behind 8-4, then battled back. But with the score tied at 12 and an enthusiastic student section following a drained Oxy team from bench-to-bench, the Tigers just couldn't get pull out the victory.
In Game 1, the Tigers fell behind 17-11 before scoring nine consecutive points to take a 20-17 lead. Linfield's Kailana Ritte-Camera broke a 22-22 tie with her most important of five kills during the set, a left-handed shot from the left side that ignited a 3-0 run to close the first game. Ritte-Camara finished with a team-high 14 kills on the match.
Boyer-Hayse (Boulder, Colo.) started to turn it on in Game 2, putting away four kills in the set after being held to just one in the first.
With Oxy in command, up 24-7, Linfield finished the second on a 9-1 run and its momentum spilled over into a never-ending third set.
Oxy fought off match point seven times before finally falling 34-32.
The Tigers bounced back in Game 4, behind eight kills from Boyer-Hayse, for an easy 25-15 win.
Oxy setter Jessie Altman dished out 40 assists and Cassidy led the game with 54 digs.