Nov. 12, 2010

Courtesy of Whitworth Athletics

ST. PAUL, Minn. -
Kaimi Rocha and Amanda Grumbach combined for 26 kills to lead Whitworth to a 27-25, 26-24, 25-20 win over Concordia-Moorhead in the first round of the NCAA Division III volleyball tournament on Friday afternoon at St. Thomas University's Schoenecker Arena.

The Pirates, playing their first NCAA tournament match since 2005, improved to 18-6 overall. The 18th-ranked Cobbers finish the season at 24-7.

Rocha, the 2010 NWC Player of the Year, led all players with 16 kills and shared match-high honors in digs with 18. Grumbach added 10 kills and 15 digs for the Pirates.

The first set included 11 ties and seven lead changes. The Pirates pulled away from a 7-7 tie with a 10-4 run that included consecutive blocks by Ka'ipo Rocha. But Concordia stormed back to tie the match at 18-18. The teams traded leads until the Cobbers went up 25-24 on a kill by by Katie Vohnoutka. But the Pirates scored the final three points, ending the set on consecutive kills by Kaimi Rocha.

The second set was also tightly contested with 10 ties and eight lead changes. A double contact called on Whitworth's Jordon Hoffnagle gave Concordia a 15-12 lead and forced a Pirate timeout. Whitworth came back to tie the set 19-19 on a kill by Brynn DeLong. From there the teams traded the lead five times. Again the Cobbers led 24-23 before the Pirates scored three straight points - two kills by Kaimi Rocha sandwiching a kill by DeLong.

Whitworth broke away from a 6-6 tie in the final set with a 6-0 run that included a couple of blocks by Randi Stephens. The Pirates would not trail again. Grumbach led the way with five kills in the set and Whitney Santos had six digs. The Pirates closed out the match with a kill by Ka'ipo Rocha.

Ka'ipo Rocha finished with eight kills and two aces, while DeLong had seven kills for the Pirates. Bree Riddle had 37 assists and 17 digs.

Jenna Green had 15 kills for Concordia and Alison Bruggeman added seven kills and four blocks.

Whitworth will take on the winner of the match between St. Olaf (Minn.) and Northwestern (Minn.) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (CST) - 1:30 p.m. Spokane time.