The Westmont volleyball team avenged one of its two conference losses by defeating the Hawks of San Diego Christian 3-1 (25-21, 18-25, 25-20, 25-21) in Golden State Athletic Conference action on Saturday night at the Montecito college’s Murchison Gymnasium.
Westmont (17-8, 11-2 GSAC) had a 33-match winning streak against San Diego Christian (12-7, 7-6) snapped last month when they suffered a 3-2 loss in El Cajon. With Saturday’s win, however, Westmont remained just one-half game out of first place.
In the first set, neither team led by more than one through the first 12 rallies.
With the score tied at 6, the Warriors produced a 5-0 run. After a Hawk’s service error, the Warriors’ Phoebe Minch delivered a kill, then teamed up with Sara Krueger for a block, prompting San Diego’s Head Coach Gene Krieger to call a timeout. Minch added another kill after the break as did Patty Kerman to produce an 11-6 advantage.
The Hawks scored the next two points before Minch brought the crowd to its feet when she pounded the ball down the line from the outside and saw it ricochet off a defender’s shoulder.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, with the score 23-18 in favor of the Warriors, Minch suffered an injury and was unable to continue. Once play resumed, the Hawks scored the next three points, but Westmont closed out the set on a block by Lexi Malone to claim the first set.
“I thought we played with resilience and grit,” said Westmont Head Coach Ruth McGolpin. “We had to get our bearings when Phoebe went down. I am super proud of Addie Paul coming in and getting some key kills. Alexa Gatiss came in and passed nails in set three and set four.”
San Diego Christian gained the upper hand in the second set. Trailing 7-5, the Hawks used two kills from Celestine Iupeli and one each from Breanna Brooks and Megan Flores to put together a 6-1 run and go up 12-8. The Warriors would get no closer than two points the rest of the set.
A close third set saw Westmont trailing 18-17 before the Warriors closed out the set on an 8-2 run. Patty Kerman delivered three kills in a row during the scoring spree while Jessie Terlizzi, Krueger, Paul and Malone added one apiece.
In the fourth set, San Diego Christian jumped out to a 4-1 advantage before the Warriors put together an 8-1 run that put Westmont up 9-5. Malone, Krueger, Kerman and Terlizzi each contributed a kill to the run and Terlizzi and Kreuger teamed up for a block.
The Hawks nibbled away at Westmont’s lead and came within one point when Lupeli produced a kill that made the score 17-16. The Warriors responded, however, by scoring the next five points to take a 21-16 advantage.
San Diego Christian twice closed to within three down the final stretch, but Westmont kept the Hawks at bay. Malone delivered the final blow when she pounded a ball down in the center of the court that Keelyn Kistner had set just above the net.
Malone, who led the Warriors with 13 kills, tallied a .265 attack percentage. Terlizzi and Kerman notched 12 kills each with Terlizzi posting a match-high attack percentage of .308. Sydny Dunn produced 26 assists and 14 digs for the Warriors while Kistner tallied 21 assists and 12 digs.
The Warriors have an opportunity to avenge their other conference loss and move into first place this week when they host the #20 Ottawa, Ariz., on Friday evening. Ottawa (18-2, 11-1) sits in first place in the GSAC standings, one-half game in front of Westmont. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.