After getting swept on Friday night, Westmont (18-9, 12-3 GSAC) got back in the win column Saturday when the volleyball team defeated Arizona Christian (9-14, 5-9) in four sets.
“We just need to get the W’s on the board at this point,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “In the first set especially, I thought our passing was really good. Due to our passing, we were able to have a consistent attack throughout the match.”
In the first set, the Warriors came out looking much more like themselves than on Friday night. Early kills from Patty Kerman, Jessie Terlizzi, and Sara Krueger led the club to an early 11-6 advantage going into ACU’s first timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Warriors only made things worse for the Firestorm. Lexi Malone collected her first three kills of the night to help the Warriors build their team to 17-10 leading into ACU’s final timeout. Then the Warriors closed things out on a 8-4 run to win game one 25-14.
Kerman and Malone both collected five kills each during the set.
Keelyn Kistner began set two from the service line and didn’t leave it until the Warriors had already jumped out to an 8-0 lead. During the initial run, Addie Paul and Audrey Brown both collected a pair of kills.
After the 8-0 run however, ACU came back with a vengeance, causing McGolpin to call a timeout when the deficit shrunk to 13-10. The Warriors gathered themselves out of the timeout and rebuilt the lead to 20-13 by the next Firestorm timeout, and cruised to a 25-19 win soon after.
Terlizzi led the club with four kills during set two, while Brown and Krueger each added three.
In the third set, the Warriors came out of the gate with intentions of completing the sweep. Kills by Brown and Paul capped off a 9-3 run to open the game before the Firestorm called their first timeout. However, ACU immediately came out with a four-point swing of their own to pull within a pair.
Up 9-7 after a timeout, Westmont saw the lead disappear when the Firestorm went on a 10-4 run, forcing the Warriors to use another timeout now trailing 17-13. Out of the timeout, the Firestorm outscored the Warriors 8-4 to force a fourth set.
“There was just a lack of focus in set three,” noted McGolpin. “We went five sets with these guys at their place so we know they were capable of pushing us, and it looked like our guys forgot about that in the third. Our guys aren’t at the level where we can ease up and still coast to wins. We need to have laser focus in every set, in every possession.”
In set four, the Warriors started to pull away halfway through with a 14-9 advantage, but again, the Firestorm wouldn’t let the Warriors dash to the finish line without a fight. ACU pulled within a pair to make things 12-10, and hung within two of the Warriors until the score was 15-13.
When Kerman’s 10th kill of the match put Westmont up 17-13, ACU called one final timeout.
Refusing to go away, the Firestorm pulled within one at 21-20 going into the Warrior’s final timeout. Then Westmont was finally able to put away ACU when Brown and Krueger recorded their final kills of the match to give the club a 25-23 win.
Terlizzi led the club with 12 digs, with Kerman adding ten of her own. Brown added nine kills while Malone and Krueger posted eight and seven respectively. Sydny Dunn and Keelyn Kistner combined to record 39 assists (20 and 19), and libero Lilian Reininga led the club with 19 digs.
“We ended really well,” said McGolpin. “Lexi was really good today, and Sara Krueger ended up hitting .375, so we had two middles who were ripping the ball at times. I love pushing the balls to our middles so that’s great.”
The club returns to action on Nov. 5, when the team heads up to Atherton to take on the Menlo Oaks at 5 p.m.
“It’s going to be a tough road trip,” said McGolpin. “Menlo is a hostile environment. The last time we played up there was the GSAC Championship in 2019 so it should be a good feeling when we get back in that gym.”
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.