Westmont Volleyball (1-1) traveled down to Fullerton for their season-opening doubleheader and left with a win and a loss on Friday. After pulling away from La Sierra (1-1) in four sets, the Warriors fell to Dordt (Iowa) (2-0) in four sets to finish the day with a split.
“We got better as the day went on,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “Especially in our second match, we just continued to get better. Our passing was really solid and our creativity with our setters got better as the day went on.
“We played with a little more heart as the day went on and that was a positive sign.”
In their first match of the season, the La Sierra Eagles proved to be a handful. The Warriors came out swinging in set one, jumping out to a 20-11 lead before La Sierra began the chip away. At one point, the Warriors were on the brink of victory with a 24-14 lead, but the Eagles refused to go away, scoring eight unanswered points.
Finally, Phoebe Minch’s set-high fifth kill solidified a 25-22 victory in set one.
In the second set, the largest lead for either side was a mere four points. Down 21-17, another kill from Minch sparked a rally for the Warriors that eventually led them flipping the script at 24-23. On the next serve the Eagles knotted things at 24, but consecutive kills from Jessie Terlizzi and Minch allowed Westmont to outlast La Sierra by a score of 26-24.
In the third set, La Sierra took out two sets worth of frustration on the Warriors, as the Eagles opened up the game on a 13-7 run going into a Westmont timeout. The timeout did little to stop La Sierra’s momentum as they ultimately routed Westmont by a score of 25-15.
In set four, pressure started to build for the Warriors immediately when the Eagles opened up the set on a 7-3 run.
La Sierra kept Westmont at arm’s reach for the first half of the set, but a Kaili Hashimoto service ace allowed the Warriors to tie the game at 13. From there, the clubs traded points for the next handful of serves.
Down 19-18, one of Lexi Malone’s 14 kills started a 5-0 run for the Warriors that saw the club take a 23-20 lead. However, La Sierra once again punched back, scoring four unanswered points to go up 24-23 as they flirted with a fifth set.
In their first match of 2022, however, the Warriors were able to out-will their opponent. Eventually, Terlizzi’s sixth kill capped off a match-clinching three-point run for a 27-25 win.
Minch and Malone both collected a match-high 14 kills, while Hashimoto led the way with 13 digs. Keelyn Kistner collected 13 assists, while Alexa Shiner, in her collegiate debut, added in 12 of her own.
In the latter half of the doubleheader, the Dordt Defenders set the tone early and took control. In set one, Dordt jumped out to a 13-4 lead and never looked back, ultimately defeating the Warriors 25-15 to open the match.
In the second set, Westmont looked primed to even things up after an ace from Shiner put them up 10-3 early. The Warriors were able to hold off the Defenders for most of the set, leading by as many as five as late as 21-16. However, the Warriors committed five attacking errors in six possessions down the stretch, and surrendered the second set by a score of 25-23.
In the third set, Westmont and Dordt were once again neck-and-neck. This time, following a 22-22 tie, it was the Warriors with a set-closing run. Kills by Minch and Sara Krueger ultimately gave the Warriors their only win of their second match by a score of 25-23.
The day came to an end in the fourth set, when following a 14-14 tie, the Defenders pulled away for good. After breaking the tie with a kill to go ahead 15-14, Dordt never again allowed Westmont to pull even, eventually clinching the match with a 25-21 win.
Minch led the Warriors with 15 kills in the second match while Terlizzi contributed with 10 of her own. Defensively, Minch and Hashimoto each had 12 digs, while Kistner added 11, and Ilyssa Ocampo had 10.
“Kaili Hashimoto and Ilyssa Ocampo were absolutely stunning,” said McGolpin. “They were our backbone today. They passed well, dug great balls, and were really the two who stood out individually.”
The Warriors are back at it tomorrow with another doubleheader. First, Westmont will match up with Saint Katherine at 1:00 p.m., before clashing with Corban (Ore.) at 6 p.m.
“First things first we have to regroup and get ready for Saint Katherine,” offered McGolpin. “We know Corban is going to be really good as well. We’re going to have to come out and do what we know we can do on our half of the court.
“We need to be able to make adjustments and be a team that’s able to be flexible. Luckily, we have another couple chances tomorrow.”
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.