Westmont Volleyball (14-4, 8-2 GSAC) outscored Arizona Christian (6-13, 3-8) 75-40 on Saturday afternoon in Santa Barbara, ultimately allowing the Warriors to sweep the Firestorm for the second time this season.
“We have to continue to take care of our own business,” said McGolpin. “If we want to battle for the number-one spot, we have to be able to keep at it. We control our own destiny at this point, so you can’t take a single day for granted.”
Westmont out-killed ACU 41-23, and hit .420, while limiting the Firestorm to a minuscule .059 attack percentage. Westmont collected their 41 kills in 81 attempts, while committing only seven errors. Leading the team in kills was Phoebe Minch, with nine, while Lexi Malone and Ashley Boswell each recorded eight of their own.
Boswell led Westmont hitting .538, while Minch posted an attacking percentage of .533, and Malone hit at .412.
Jessie Terlizzi also collected seven kills with an attack percentage of .375.
Malone led the Warriors with four blocks, while Keelyn Kistner led the Warriors with 21 assists, and libero Kaili Hashimoto led the team with 16 digs.
“Lexi Malone was on fire today,” stated McGolpin. “It was good to see her come out strong, and Phoebe and Jessie were both solid as well. Ashley Boswell had a nice game too, finding the ball when she needed to.”
The highlight of the match came in the third set, with the Warriors already leading 2-0. McGolpin sent Kistner to the service line, where the setter and the Warriors went on an unforgettable run. In a service streak that saw two timeouts, eight kills, and four service aces, Kistner stayed at the service line for a set-opening 18-0 run.
When a kill from ACU halted the run, Kistner received a standing ovation from the home crowd.
“I’ve never been in a college match as a head coach, or even as an assistant, where a player has done that much damage,” reflected McGolpin. “Kudos not only to Keelyn, but to our team during that run, because our blocking was incredible as well.”
Following Kistner’s run, McGolpin allowed Westmont’s joyful bench to grow even louder, when the coach began to sub in some of the team’s beloved underclassmen. Alexis Dennick, Natalie McNurlin, and Addie Paul all saw the court in the game’s final moments, highlighted by Dennick collecting a pair of kills before the match ended.
“That was super fun at the end of the match,” said McGolpin. “It’s super fun to get people like Natalie, who hasn’t been on the court in a while, in the game. Alexis Dennick came in and played great, and so did Addie. That was fun.”
After ACU scored the day’s first two points, Westmont tied the match at two and surpassed the Firestorm at 3-2. After that, Westmont never trailed for the rest of the match.
The Warriors return to action on Tuesday night with one of the most anticipated matches of their season. At 7:00 p.m. in Santa Ana, Westmont will take on first-place #20 Vanguard (17-5, 7-1), the top-team in the GSAC up to this point.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.