Whitman Classic Recap; Rebecca Slattery named to All-Tournament Team

Whitman Classic Recap; Rebecca Slattery named to All-Tournament Team

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Whittier College women's volleyball team wrapped up their trip to Walla Walla, WA Saturday as they finished the Whitman Classic 1-3 with their lone winning coming against Mills College in a sweep.

Sophomore opposite Rebecca Slattery (Los Altos, Calif.) was one of eight players selected to the All-Tournament team following a strong four games where she collected 57 kills and six blocks.    

Game 1 (Mills College; W, 25-8, 25-12, 25-18)

The Poets got the tournament off on the right foot sweeping the Cyclones led by Malia Valdivieso (Eastlake, Calif.) who finished with nine kills on 16 attempts.  She was followed by junior Haley Whyte (Mission Viejo, Calif.) who had five kills on nine attempts to go with three block assists.

Ruth Guziec (Glendale, Calif.) led the back row with five digs with Lauren Pogue (Simi Valley, Calif.) tallying a game high 12 assists.        

Game 2 (Whitworth; L, 18-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-20)

In the second match-up on day one of the Whit Classic, Whittier jumped out in front 25-18 and never relinquished the lead in the set against Whitworth University.  The Pirates did pull within two 19-17 but the Purple & Gold went on a 6-1 run to close out the frame capped off with a Slattery kill.

But Whitworth grabbed the momentum right back pulling away from an 11-11 tie with their own 7-1 run that moved them in front 18-12 en route to the 25-20 set.  In the third, it was all Whitworth as they ran out of the gates quickly to take an astounding 18-8 lead, and despite a valiant comeback, the Poets couldn't overcome the deficit as they would fall 25-16 before dropping the match in the fourth 25-20.

Casie Lowden (Glendora, Calif.) on the outside led the offense with 14 kills, while digging 11 balls, joined by Slattery and Whyte who had 11 and 10 kills, each respectively, and a combined seven blocks.  Torrey Mitsunaga (Culver City, Calif.) got the start at setter and finished with 39 assists, while McKenzie Rosendale (Temecula, Calif.) had 13 digs. 

Game 3 (Lewis & Clark; L, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 15-7)

The first game on day two of the tournament proved to be the match of the weekend as the Poets and Pioneers played to a fifth and decisive set. 

Despite a career high of 25 kills for Slattery and taking the opening first set, Whittier couldn't hold on as Lewis & Clark would hold on for the 15-7 victory in the fifth.

Lewis & Clark had the lead the majority of the opening set but Whittier managed to fight its way back into the contest. Trailing by five, 15-10, Whittier took advantage of a couple Pioneer errors to tie the match at 16-16. From that point on the two sides traded possession of the lead with the Poets edging out the Pioneers 25-23.

Like the opening set, the Pioneers ran up an early lead just to watch it slip away later when the Poets evened the set at 13-13.   Whittier then went ahead 18-15 but saw a 3-0 run by the Pios tie the game up.  The Poets saw the finish line at 22-21 but that's as close as they would get as L&C would rally to win the final four points to level the match.

The third set was evenly matched with neither team having a distinct advantage over the other.  The Pioneers grabbed a slight margin 22-17 but saw the Poets climb back to within one 23-22 due to an attacking error, but Lewis & Clark would keep WC at bay again holding on in the latter stages of the set to go out in front 2-1.

Whittier didn't go away however as they would keep the match going in the fourth set, never trailing en route to the 25-20 victory behind a .500 hitting performance.  Then in the fifth and decisive frame, Lewis & Clark found a way to go in front 11-4 and despite a run by Whittier, it wouldn't be enough to upend their Northwest Conference opponent.

Game 4 (Whitman; L, 26-28, 25-23, 25-10, 25-19)

In the final match-up of the Classic, Whittier took on the host Whitman College and after again taking the first set to go in front, they would drop the next three en route to their third straight loss.

Somehow after being a set down and trailing late in the second, Whitman managed to come from behind in the closing contest to finish 3-1 on the weekend.  The first set was a see saw battle and saw the scored tied three times after being knotted up at 23-23.  But the poets would close out the frame with back to back kills to put the pressure on the Missionaries. 

In the second, the stanza saw 12 ties and five lead changes much like the first, with Whittier holding onto a 23-21 lead and looking to go up two sets on the host school.  But Whitman however reeled off four consecutive points capped off with a service ace from Abby Seethoff that took the wind out of the sails of the Poets.

Following a lopsided third set, the Poets came out in force in the fourth tying the game up at 10-10.  But soon after the Missionaries would rattle off three straight giving them a slight advantage, which they wouldn't relinquish as the would extend the lead to five on three different occasions en route to the 25-19 clinching victory.

Again Slattery led the offense in the middle finishing with 18 kills, while Lowden was the only other Poet in double figures finishing with 12 kills and 20 digs.  Mitsunaga totaled 36 assists, three kills, and seven digs on one of her stronger evenings and Alexis Mills (Ontario, Calif.) and Slattery each had a block assist.      

Whittier returns home to prepare for their home opener this Friday, September 12 as they host Colorado College beginning at 6:00pm.