Westmont volleyball players (13-8, 7-2 GSAC) took care of business on Saturday night, defeating The Master’s (6-13, 2-7) in four sets to win their fourth consecutive GSAC match.
“We’re sitting in a comfortable second place right now,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “A lot of teams beat each other up the past couple nights, and for us to take care of business against a rival like The Master’s is always a good thing.”
In the first set, the two clubs were tied at nine before a pair of kills from Lexi Malone sparked a run that saw the club take a 15-11 advantage. After a two-point swing from the Mustangs, Westmont responded with kills from Kaylee Ivie, Phoebe Minch and Jessie Terlizzi to build the lead to 18-13 going into a Master’s timeout.
Up 19-15, the Warriors allowed the Mustangs, led by the strong attack of Ruby Duncan, to pull back within one going into a Westmont timeout. Out of the timeout, the Warriors responded by closing out the set on a 6-2 run, to ultimately win it 25-20.
Audrey Brown and the Warriors came out swinging in set two, jumping out to a 7-1 lead thanks to a pair of kills from the senior. The run never truly came to a stop as immediately following the Mustang’s first timeout, the Warrior lead expanded to 16-6.
The Warriors were firing on all cylinders in the second set, ultimately taking the game 25-15. Minch and Terlizzi both collected five kills during the set, while Malone added three of her own.
At the end of two sets, the Warriors had held the Mustangs to a .106 attacking percentage.
“We looked really good early,” noted McGolpin. “Those were two really complete games and hopefully we’re starting to figure out how to find that energy early and keep it.”
In the third set, the Warriors jumped out to a 5-1 lead thanks to another pair of kills from Brown, but the Mustangs quickly closed the deficit to 7-6.
Then, before the Mustang’s took their first timeout, the Warriors regained momentum and held a 12-7 advantage. Later, another pair of kills from Brown put the Warriors up 17-9 as they eyed the sweep.
The Master’s responded with a run to creep up on the Warriors, cutting the deficit to 19-15, then 21-18, before tying the game at 22. Then with the game tied at 22, the Mustangs scored three straight points to stun the Warriors 25-22 and force a fourth set.
“Obviously we had a bit of a hiccup there in game three,” McGolpin said. “We just couldn’t shut the door, and credit to them for their defensive effort down the stretch. They did not let us run away with things easily by any means.”
Westmont jumped out to a 3-0 lead in set four and carried a 9-5 lead early. Then, after the Mustangs trimmed the lead to 10-8, the Warriors went on a 6-2 run to inch closer to the finish line with a 16-10 lead.
The Master’s got back within four before McGolpin called a timeout, and the Warriors came out of the break with a three-point run to take a 20-13 advantage.
Three consecutive attacking errors by the Warriors allowed the Mustangs to pull within four at 22-18, before the Warriors finally closed things out. Minch’s team-high 14th kill of the match gave the Warriors a 25-19 win in set four, and 3-1 match victory.
“I thought we responded well,” said McGolpin. “While The Master’s defensive effort made the difference in game three, I thought our defensive effort really sealed the deal in game four. Lexi and Phoebe were both fantastic tonight, and our blocking was really key.”
Terlizzi added 12 kills to the cause, while Sydny Dunn and Keelyn Kistner each recorded 20 assists. Minch led the club with 16 digs, with freshman Kaili Hashimoto right behind her with 15.
“Our setters did a great job as well,” McGolpin said. “I thought they regrouped after an inconsistent game last night, and really kept things simple this evening. Their performance really allowed Phoebe and Lexi to get going.”
The club returns to action next Friday when they travel down to Costa Mesa to take on the Vanguard Lions at 7:00 p.m. Links to live coverage will be available on the Westmont Athletics website.
“Playing in the pit is always tough,” said McGolpin. “We know they’ll be hungry after going 0-2 this weekend and we’ll be preparing to play in a hostile environment all week leading up to it.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.