The Westmont volleyball team (16-8, 10-2 GSAC) won its fourth-straight match Friday night, this time taking care of Hope International (7-14, 3-9) in three sets.
Westmont controlled the entire home match at the net, out-blocking the Royals three-to-one in route to 25-22, 25-15, and 25-16 wins.
“We knew what we had to do tonight and we took care of business,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin.
In the first set, Westmont fell behind 10-6 early, causing McGolpin to call her first timeout.
Out of the timeout, consecutive kills by Sara Krueger pulled the Warriors within a pair. Then Krueger’s first block of the night made it a one-point game, and moments later an attacking error from Hope International tied the game at 12.
With the game tied at 14, Jessie Terlizzi’s third and fourth kills gave the Warriors a 16-14 advantage. Then, after the Royals tied it again at 16, another kill from Terlizzi sparked a three-point swing that saw the Warriors take a 19-16 lead. However, a pair of kills and a Warrior attacking error allowed the Royals to tie it up again, forcing McGolpin to use her final timeout.
The run for the Royals did not end there, as out of the timeout Hope International rode a pair of attacking errors to a 22-19 advantage over Westmont.
Then Krueger took over.
Krueger’s third kill of the set pulled the Warriors back within two. Then she recorded another pair of blocks that sent the Warrior bench into a frenzy, tying things at 22.
With the game tied at 22, Phoebe Minch collected a pair of kills, and Patty Kerman joined forces with Krueger to block another attempt from the Royals, finally giving the Warriors a 25-22 win to start the night.
“Our passing was pretty good all together and that let us settle in,” said McGolpin. “Early on our passing set us up offensively, and then we were also on the winning end of some funky plays that set the tone early. Phoebe made a few plays that earned us some big swing points, and after that, it looked like we had our feet under us and took off from there.”
In set two, Hope International possessed an early 7-4 lead, before three kills from Minch sparked a five-point run that saw the Warriors jump on top 9-7. Then, after Hope International tied things at 10, the Warriors took full control of the game with a 9-1 run led by kills from Terlizzi, Lexi Malone, and Audrey Brown.
Ultimately, Brown and Minch both collected four kills each. Malone added three of her own as the Warriors routed the Royals 25-15 for a 2-0 set advantage.
Westmont initially led set three by a score of 9-8, before a four-point run allowed the Warriors to take a five-point lead with the finish line in sight. Then, consecutive kills from Terlizzi, followed by Krueger’s eighth and ninth blocks of the evening, gave the Warriors a 17-9 lead going into Hope International’s final timeout of the evening.
Krueger’s 10th kill immediately followed Hope’s timeout, keeping the Warrior momentum going, and eventually she tied a career high with her 11th block to give the Warriors a 21-15 lead. Finally, Westmont’s 16th block of the evening capped off a 25-16 win to finish off a clean sweep of the Royals.
“Sara is the kind of player that can get on a roll when she gets feisty,” noted McGolpin, “and we like it when she gets feisty. Her blocking was incredible, and also our setters found her in moments where she could be successful in our attacking game. Overall, it was a great performance.”
Offensively, Terlizzi and Brown led the way for Westmont with 11 and 10 kills each, while Malone and Krueger added eight and six of their own. Minch led the Warriors on the defensive end with 16 digs, while Keelyn Kistner and Sydny Dunn recorded 23 and 19 assists each.
Along with Kruger’s 11 blocks, Malone, Brown and Patty Kerman each contributed with five blocks of their own.
Overall, the Warriors outblocked the Royals 16-5, and Westmont held Hope International to an attack percentage of 0.054.
“I thought tonight, both offensively and defensively, was one of Lexi’s best nights all season,” said McGolpin. “Overall, we had a balanced attack, which was awesome, but blocking was obviously the story tonight. We say it all the time, blocking is something we work on every single day in practice. My expectation is that we’ll continue getting better at it.
“I was really pleased to see us keep our foot down in set three. We didn’t let up at all, and we put away that game like we need to be putting games away regularly.”
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.