On the brink of defeat, the University of Puget Sound’s volleyball star stepped up in the clutch. Reigning All-American Jackie Harvey had two kills to lead a 7-0 run after trailing 23-18 in the fourth game, and delivered five kills in the decisive fifth game to help the Loggers to a 21-25, 14-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-11 win at home over crosstown rival Pacific Lutheran on Oct. 23.
The win also lifted the 15th-ranked Loggers into a first-place tie in the Northwest Conference with the 14th-ranked Lutes, as both sat at 10-1 in conference play.
“Us coming back and winning that was amazing,” said Harvey, who clinched the match with a spike in the fifth game for her 1,000th career kill. “Just that fifth game, we really felt connected as a team and we really left it out there.”
The first game was a back-and-forth affair, as neither team led by more than three points until the Lutes’ Amy Wooten and Haley Urdahl tallied two kills apiece for a 4-0 run to give PLU a 22-18 lead. The Lutes frustrated Harvey in the early going, as two shots from the Loggers’ senior landed out of bounds late in the period.
Harvey helped keep the second game close early, pulling the Loggers to within 12-11 with a powerful spike, but the Lutes responded with a 13-3 stretch, as Wooten and Lucy Capron tallied two kills apiece.
“We actually think we’re the best serving and passing team on the West Coast, and they out-served us and out-passed us in the first two games,” said Puget Sound head coach Mark Massey. “We made some great blocking plays and some great hits, and they simply came up with the digs that we thought should have gone down.”
Tied 9-9 in the third game, the Loggers’ middle blockers came to life, as Nicolette Reynaud and Emily Convery added a couple of key kills to help give Puget Sound a 23-16 lead. The Loggers finished it off when the Lutes’ Bethany Huston slammed a spike into the net.
Capron helped build an 8-3 lead in the fourth game for the Lutes with a couple of early kills, and they seemed headed for a comfortable win as Urdahl’s kill later made it 23-18. But Loggers setter Jenni Brehove caught the Lutes off guard with a set over the net, and Harvey added a kill to cut it to 23-20. Brehove then rattled off two straight aces, and Convery and Danielle Westerman came up with back-to-back clutch blocks to give the Loggers a 24-23 lead. Harvey then tied up the match with a kill to finish the 7-0 run.
“PLU runs such a fast offense,” Massey said. “There is really no one else we play that runs that fast. I was just incredibly proud of our blockers tonight. We had practiced really hard to try to slow their offense down. We just had some monster stuff-blocks tonight against some really good hitters.”
Trailing 8-4 in the fifth set, the Loggers again responded with an 11-3 run, with Harvey collecting four of her game-high 17 kills and Reynaud adding a couple kills.
“Our middle and right side (hitters), and Jenni (Brehove), did a really good job offensively on the other side of the net,” Harvey said. “They were able to pull the blockers that way and kind of get (them) off me. I had a little bit more freedom toward the end of the match to move around and do my stuff.”
Marissa Florant added 15 kills and 16 digs for the Loggers, while Brehove had 48 assists and 21 digs and Christina Chun had a team-high 26 digs. Wooten led the Lutes with 16 kills, while Samantha North had 50 assists and Amber Aguiar had 45 digs.
The Loggers got a 3-0 win at home over Lewis & Clark on Oct. 25, while the Lutes topped Willamette 3-2 to maintain a first-place tie.