By JACOB NORLING
WESTMONT COLLEGE WRITER
Westmont (9-6, 3-1 GSAC) snapped a four-game winning streak on Saturday, dropping a five-set match against #20 OUAZ (10-1, 3-0).
After dropping the first set 33-31, the 25th ranked Warriors ran-off two straight wins by the score of 25-19, 25-18. After dropping the fourth set, 25-23, the Warriors ran out of time in the fifth, dropping the final game 15-13.
“We just didn’t play well,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “We had a few individuals that played well, but offensively we were nowhere to be found. Our passing game never improved and there was never a moment where we clicked.”
In the first set, Westmont trailed 10-6 before kills by Terlizzi, Kerman, and Minch sparked a four-point run that allowed the club to knot things at 10. Then, the Spirit responded with a 5-1 run to take a 15-11 lead going into a Westmont timeout.
Westmont hung with OUAZ and got within one at 17-16. The Spirit began to pull away with a 21-18 lead, but kills by Terlizzi and Kaylee Ivie once again made it a one-point game at 21-20.
A kill by Brown tied the set at 23, and a kill by Malone tied it again at 24, ensuring it would take more than the typical 25 points to claim the first set. Westmont had the one-point advantage four times late in the game, but ultimately a kill and an ace gave the Spirit the 33-31 win in set one.
In the second set, the score was tied at seven before four-consecutive kills by the Spirit gave OUAZ an 11-7 lead. Once again, however, the Warriors would not go away, eventually taking a 15-14 lead on Malone’s sixth kill of the match.
OUAZ didn’t make it easy, but eventually a 4-1 run Warrior run gave the club some breathing room with a 21-17 lead. Moments later, Minch’s sixth kill of the set gave the Warriors a 25-19 win to tie things up.
Malone came out firing in the third set with three kills in the first six possessions to give the Warriors an early 5-1 lead. This time it was OUAZ’s turn to get back in it, and they quickly tied the game at seven. Then, a kill by Ivie and a pair of kills by Terlizzi gave the Warriors a 10-7 lead to work with.
The Warriors countered each mini-run by the Spirit with one of their own for the back-half of the third set, maintaining their multi-point lead. Eventually, consecutive service aces from Terlizzi gave Westmont a second-consecutive set win, this time by the score of 25-18.
Malone tallied four kills during the set, while Terlizzi added three of her own.
In set four, three-consecutive attacking errors by the Spirit gave the Warriors their first multi-point lead of the game at 10-8. From there, it was a battle to fend off a possible momentum-swinging run by the Spirit.
However, that run came when OUAZ tied the game at 15 and took the lead at 18-17. The lead grew to 24-20 for the Spirit, before a three-point run made it a one-point game. Up 24-23, a kill from the Spirit gave the home team a 25-23 win. For the second-consecutive day, Westmont was headed to a fifth set.
Westmont began the set trailing 5-3, before a timeout. Then, consecutive kills by Avie Butsko grew the OUAZ lead to 8-5, and a Westmont attacking error allowed the lead to grow to 9-5.
Down 14-7, the Warriors went on a six-point run to pull within two. Then, time ran out on the next play, as Kate Pestova collected her match-high 22nd kill to give OUAZ the 15-13 win.
“In those final two sets, their short serving allowed them to have success,” noted McGolpin, “and then for us, we needed to feed our middles. At times we were running almost an exclusive outside attack, and we just can’t be successful like that. We have to be able to have a diverse offense and we just didn’t have it today.”
Malone led the club with 17 kills, while Minch added 16 of her own. Libero Lilian Reininga collected a team-high 36 digs, while Keelyn Kistner and Sydny Dunn tallied 26 and 23 assists each.
“Immediately, I let the team know I was proud of them,” assured McGolpin. “Going on a run when they could have just mailed it in showed grit. However, they can’t wait to make those runs. We had to waste two timeouts by the time it was 8-5, so there was nothing I could do by then.
Westmont returns to the court when they take on San Diego Christian next Friday down in Santee. The Warriors will play Hope International the following night in Fullerton, before returning home to take on William Jessup on October 1.
“We have to continue to get better,” said McGolpin, “and we have to continue to get healthy. The season is a grind, and it’s a mental grind more than anything.”
Jacob Norling is a Westmont College sports information assistant.