Westmont Volleyball (8-2, 2-0 GSAC) won their sixth match in a row on Saturday night after defeating the Arizona Christian Firestorm (4-7, 1-2) in three sets. After an extended battle in the first set, the Warriors took control of the match and outscored the Firestorm 50-34 in the final two sets.
“This was a great showing tonight,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “Arizona Christian is a good team over there. They have a strong right side, and played us well tonight.”
In the first set, ACU opened the match on a 5-1 run, before the Warriors scored five unanswered points themselves to lead 6-5. From there, the clubs stayed close into the 20’s, before the Warriors took what looked to be a commanding 22-19 lead.
Then, a pair of Westmont attacking errors followed by a trio of ACU kills gave the home team a dangerous 24-22 advantage. With the game on the line, a kill from Phoebe Minch and an ACU attacking error knotted things at 24.
The Firestorm momentarily took a 25-24 advantage, but Lexi Malone collected a kill to tie it again at 25. Then, consecutive attacking errors from Arizona Christian gave Westmont a 27-25 win and a 1-0 set lead.
In the second set, the Warriors carried their momentum and never looked back. The lead initially grew to 15-10, before ACU got within three at 15-12. Then, the Warriors ran off a blur of a 10-1 run to end the set.
The run consisted of four kills, a service ace, and five attacking errors that led to a 25-13 win, and a 2-0 set advantage.
“There weren’t really any adjustments between the two sets,” reflected McGolpin. “I just thought we needed to step on the gas a bit more. It was really the blocking that turned things around in game two.”
The Warriors collected five blocks in the second set, with Taylor Distelberg recording a set-high four.
With the finish line in sight, the Warriors opened up the third set with a 6-2 run. Slowly but surely, however, the Firestorm chipped away, eventually tying the set at 18, 20, and 21.
However, the Warriors never allowed the Firestorm to get over the hump and take the lead. With the game tied at 21, a pair of kills from Malone mixed with a pair of errors from ACU ended the night with a 25-21 win in favor of the Warriors.
Jessie Terlizzi once again led the Warriors with 12 kills to go along with a .320 attack percentage. Distelberg added seven kills of her own with an attack percentage of .538.
“Jessie was great again tonight,” nodded McGolpin. “Taylor and also Sara Krueger were insane with their blocking tonight, especially in that second set. Jessie was on fire, and Taylor did everything tonight.”
The Warriors out-blocked the Firestorm 10-4, with Distelberg leading the way with seven. Krueger collected four blocks of her own.
“Our blocking was absolutely insane tonight,” said McGolpin. “In game two especially, it was ridiculous how good we were at the net. Our serving was really solid as well. We had five aces, and some errors as well, but we took good chances and kept them out of system a lot.
“We’re enjoying the moment, but we’re not done yet. We’ve got another task tomorrow.”
The Warriors return to action tomorrow at 12 p.m. when they take on OUAZ in Surprise. Last season, OUAZ was responsible for two of Westmont’s four GSAC losses en route to winning their first conference championship in program history.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.