ALISO VIEJO — The regular season Golden State Athletic Conference champion Westmont Warriors received a trio of accolades on Tuesday, when the conference announced the All-GSAC team.
After leading the Warriors to a GSAC-best 15-3 record, Westmont volleyball players Keelyn Kistner, Lexi Malone and Phoebe Minch have all been named to the All-GSAC team.
Now a senior, Malone has earned the honor of All-GSAC for the third consecutive season.
This year, Malone posted the single-best attack percentage in the GSAC, hitting at a career-best mark of .322, which was 37 points higher than the next-highest clip. Malone was also third in the GSAC with 0.94 blocks per set, as the senior collected 92 total blocks, the fourth-most in the conference.
Malone’s 248 kills were seventh-most in the GSAC, and her .322 attack percentage currently stands as the ninth-highest mark in Westmont program single-season history.
“These three are all so deserving,” said Westmont Head Coach Ruth McGolpin, who had led the Warriors to their third GSAC Championship in four years. “Lexi Malone adds value to our program in so many ways. Not only is she stellar as an attacker, but she’s stellar as a blocker, and she’s an incredible leader for our program.
“The thing is, other teams have to respect her, so they follow her around a lot. What comes with that extra attention, is it opens up opportunities for players like Phoebe to get more one-on-one opportunities.
“Lexi is an easy person for people to communicate with. She is somebody that sits in my office a lot, and oftentimes we don’t even talk about volleyball. She’s been like that since she was a freshman. She’s extremely mature, and she has a wonderful way with her words. She is positive, and also holds the team to a high level of accountability.”
Kistner, also a senior, earned All-GSAC honors for the second time in her career, and for the first time since her freshman campaign in 2019. After earning GSAC Setter of the Week on three separate occasions this season, Kistner tallied a total of 509 assists, while also collecting a team-best 47 service aces, the second-most in the conference.
In a 6-2 offense, Kistner’s 5.19 assists per set was the fifth-highest average in the GSAC. At the end of the regular season, Kistner’s 2,246 career assists is the sixth-most in Westmont program history.
“I’m super proud of Keelyn,” said McGolpin. “She’s been player of the week several times, and been an excellent leader on and off the floor. She’s been one of our strongest servers as well, and Keelyn’s hands are a thing of beauty.
“I’m extra proud of Lexi and Keelyn for getting on here together, after coming in together back in 2019.”
Minch led Westmont this season with 291 kills, while averaging a team-best 2.97 kills per set. Minch, who was the lone Warrior to play regularly in both the front and back row, also tallied 383 digs, the second-most on the team.
Minch’s 291 kills were the fourth-most in the GSAC, while her average of 2.97 per set was the fifth-highest clip in the conference. Minch also collected 46 service aces, which was tied for the third most in the conference, while her average of 3.91 digs per set was the seventh-highest average in the GSAC.
“Phoebe plays all over the court,” said McGolpin. “She’s our best passer and is solid at serving as well. She is quiet, but she’s a very smart attacker. Phoebe has a good range of shots, and she’s somebody that never leaves the court. The value Phoebe brings is as high as anyone out there.”
Westmont’s first postseason match is scheduled to begin this Friday at 4 p.m. MST/3 p.m. PST in Surprise, Ariz. As the top-seed in the GSAC Tournament, the Warriors received a First Round bye in the Quarterfinals and will play either Life Pacific or Ottawa (Ariz.) in the GSAC Semifinal on Friday.
“At this point, we checked off three of our ‘Go Big Goals’,” said McGolpin. “Obviously, the GSAC Tournament Championship is a part of our next goals. We’re looking forward to traveling to Ottawa and showcasing what we’ve done all season long in this conference.
“We want to continue to play well and win this thing outright, sending us off to the National Tournament the right way.”
Links to live coverage of Westmont’s postseason run will be available at athletics.westmont.edu.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.