By JACOB NORLING
WESTMONT COLLEGE WRITER
BELLEVUE, Neb. — No. 15 Westmont (5-3) split a doubleheader in volleyball action on Friday in Bellevue, Neb., after getting swept by No. 2 Jamestown (8-0) in the morning and later paying it forward against McPherson (2-2).
“The pieces are still coming together,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “It is important for us not only to play good teams in the preseason, but we want to build some confidence as well. We’ve shown that we can hang with teams, but we need to be able to find ways to defeat clubs that are better than us.”
In the morning, Westmont battled it out with Jamestown, a club that came into the match a perfect 6-0. The Warriors stayed neck and neck with the Jimmies to begin the first set, keeping the match tied through 14 points after Addie Paul’s first kill of the set.
Following Paul’s kill, Jamestown began to pull away as the Jimmies went on a four-point run to take an 18-14 lead.
From that point on, the two clubs traded points leading up to a final Jamestown run that had the Jimmies cruise to a 25-18 victory. The final blow came on Corina Huff’s fourth kill of the set.
“We had quite a few errors in the first set,” noted McGolpin. “We had three service errors and could not get anything to land offensively. In close games like that it’s those runs of points you give up for free that will hurt you.”
In set two, the Jimmies got out a 9-3 lead and looked poised to run away with things. Then, kills from Paul and Kaylee Ivie bookended a rally that saw Westmont pull within three at 11-8.
Westmont’s momentum quickly came to a halt, however, as the Jimmies held off the Warriors for a 25-17 win and a 2-0 set advantage. Jessie Terlizzi and Patty Kerman collected four and three kills each during the set, while Jamestown’s Huff added another four of her own.
Like in the first, the club hung with the Jimmies during the first half of the set, keeping things knotted through 15. However once again, the Jimmies got just enough breathing room to pull away for good. Two kills and an error got the Jimmies their first multi-point lead since the set started 3-1, and the Warriors were unable to tie the match again.
Jamestown finished off the sweep with a 25-20 victory in set three, as Huff finished with a match-high 11 kills. Terlizzi led the Warriors with ten of her own.
“They were not necessarily that big,” observed McGolpin. “However, they were athletic and super physical. They just seemed more polished than we were at this point. We have been together for a little over three weeks and it showed, while they looked like they were already in a groove.”
Westmont was out-killed 49-32, and out-blocked 15-4 during the match.
“The difference was our inability to stop them defensively,” said McGolpin. “It’s not just at the net. Defensively, I’d like to see everyone step up. We are a quiet team by nature and we need to be louder on the court and communicate better.”
In the nightcap, the Warriors got off to a slow start in set one, going down 5-1 on five kills from four different bulldogs. Then the Westmont offense came alive with an 8-1 run themselves to take a 9-6 lead. From there, Westmont consistently maintained their lead.
Westmont took the first set by a score of 25-20, with Terlizzi and Phoebe Minch leading the way with five kills each. Four of Terlizzi’s kills were a part of Westmont’s initial run to take the lead.
“It was important for us to have a good scouting report going in,” explained MGolpin. “Fortunately, we got to get a look at them during their earlier match, which allowed us to have an idea of where we were going with a plan. They are a solid team, and it was not easy to break through by any means.”
In set two, Westmont jumped out a 6-2 lead before McPherson showed the Warriors their best punch of the night, going on a 7-1 run to take a 9-7 lead.
The Bulldogs kept the Warriors in pursuit for the next handful of possessions, with their lead getting as big 14-11. Then kills by Terlizzi and Ivie, followed by a bad set, allowed Westmont to knot things at 14 going into a McPherson timeout.
The clubs traded points out of the timeout until a kill by Sara Krueger gave Westmont a multi-point lead at 18-16.
From there the Westmont lead was never relinquished, and an ace by Minch gave the club a 25-21 win and a 2-0 set advantage. Minch also led the club with four kills during the set.
Westmont’s offense spread the wealth in set three as kills by Audrey Brown, Patty Kerman, Krueger and Minch allowed the club to jump out to an 8-4 lead. However, a pair of kills and Westmont attacking errors allowed the Bulldogs to pull within one at 10-9 and eventually tie the set at 12.
Then, three errors in four possessions for the Bulldogs allowed the Warriors to take a 17-13 lead and cruise from there. A Sydny Dunn ace put the finishing touches on a Westmont sweep, as the club took the third and final set 25-18.
Minch finished the match with a team-high 10 kills, while Terlizzi added nine. Dunn led the club with 16 assists, while freshman libero Kaili Hashimoto added a team-high 14 digs.
Defensively, Terlizzi, Krueger and Ivie combined for 15 blocks.
“Specifically, I thought Sara Krueger played great,” said McGolpin. “She came in and gave us a spark. Kaylee also had her fair share of kills tonight and was great at the net defensively. Then of course Jessi and Patty were great tonight as well.
“The stats show that our blocking was great, but what set it up was our serving. We served to the spaces we were targeting, and it kept them out of system, which allowed our blocking to have success.
“Winning is great for confidence building,” McGolpin added. “But what has really impressed me is hearing the team say they’re grateful they’ve come all this way for tough competition. They are getting tested by every team out here, and tomorrow we are going to have our hands full.”
On Wednesday, Westmont will host Westcliff at 7 p.m. in Murchison Gymnasium, before beginning GSAC play Friday in San Dimas.
Jacob Norling is a Westmont College sports information assistant.