KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — The Westmont volleyball team (20-11, 14-4 GSAC) had no answer for the Oregon Tech Owls (24-6, 18-4) on Saturday night, as the Owls swept the Warriors to eliminate them from the NAIA National Tournament.
Westmont dropped set one by a score of 25-13, before pulling closer in sets two and three. However, Westmont never scored more than 21 points in what turned out to be their season finale.
“We just got beat,” stated Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “It was an amazing crowd, and so much fun to play in that gym. It was a great environment and they deserved this win, hands down.
“A lot has been stacked against us this year. We’ve had injuries, food poisoning, and just about anything you could imagine to make us short-handed. However, 20 wins in a season is remarkable. With the tough schedule we had, I am still so proud of this team.”
In the first set, after the match began with a 3-3 tie, Oregon Tech exploded for a 15-4 run en route to building an 18-7 advantage. Following that run, the two sides traded points, but the damage was already done.
During set one, Westmont committed seven attacking errors, four reception errors, and a pair of service errors. As a club, the Warriors hit .100 during the set.
Oregon Tech led 9-8 to begin the second set, but in the middle of the set, the Owls pulled away for good. A Westmont service error sparked a 7-3 run for Oregon Tech that allowed the home team to take a 16-11 advantage. The Warriors responded with a three-point run to pull within a pair, but never got closer than that, ultimately running out of steam in a 25-20 loss.
In set three, Westmont displayed their best fight of the evening. After trailing 12-7 to begin the set, a kill from Patty Kerman sparked a run that saw Westmont tie things at 15 in the middle of the set. Then, a kill from Keelyn Kistner gave Westmont a rare lead for a brief moment at 16-15.
The game was ultimately lost following a 19-19 tie, when Oregon Tech scored on four consecutive possessions to take a 23-19 lead. A kill from Oregon Tech’s Kaylin Talonen officially gave the Owls a 25-21 win in set three, and officially brought Westmont’s season to a close.
“Oregon Tech looked really good,” stated McGolpin. “Their middles were incredible, their passing was spot on, and they didn’t make a lot of mistakes. What a testament to that program, their first time ever going to the national tournament, and now their first time going to Iowa. I wish them nothing but the best.”
Westmont made 14 attacking errors compared to Oregon Tech’s six, and only hit .210 for the match as a whole. Lexi Malone led the Warriors with nine kills, while Kerman added seven of her own. Kistner tallied 14 assists, while Sydny Dunn added 12 of her own.
“Patty was amazing, as usual,” noted McGolpin. “A fifth-year senior, banged up all season, to have a game with seven kills and zero errors is phenomenal. Lexi Malone is an All-American, and she played like it again tonight.”
Kistner also led the club with nine digs, while Kaili Hashimoto contributed seven of her own.
“After the match, the team all pointed out one thing they loved about the season. A majority of the answers had nothing to do with volleyball. It was all about going to chapel together, eating in the dining commons together, dancing together. The things they’ll remember are all the things that make them a family at the end of the day. That is what makes it special.”
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.