After a long day of travel on Thursday, Westmont Women’s Volleyball (4-2) competed in day one of the Labor Day Classic on Friday. In the first match of the day, Westmont overcame a first-set loss to defeat Doane (Neb.) (2-8) in four sets. Then, in the evening, Westmont stayed hot and swept William Woods (Mo.) (1-4) to cap off a stellar day one.
“We were one of the teams that traveled the furthest,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “We got in super late, lost a piece of luggage, went through multiple delays just to get here. We displayed some serious grit today to show up and win a couple matches.”
In the first match of the day, the Warriors matched up against the Doane Tigers in what turned out to be a coming out party for Westmont. In the opening set, the two sides were neck-and-neck up until the game’s conclusion. On consecutive occasions a kill from Lexi Malone extended the set, with the first kill tying the game at 24 and the second tying it at 25 a moment later.
However, after Doane’s Taylor Sluka put the Tigers up 26-25, an attacking error from Phoebe Minch gave Doane the 27-25 win to open the match. Attacking miscues were the difference in the day’s first set, with Westmont committing seven attacking errors compared to Doane, who did not commit a single one.
In the second set, Westmont came dangerously close to falling down 2-0. The Warriors played from behind for the entire set, at one point trailing 21-24. Then, the script was flipped. After a clean first set, Doane committed 10 attacking errors in the second, including two up 24-21.
After the miss-hits, the Tigers called a timeout to regroup up 24-23, still needing just one more point to take control of the match. However, Jessie Terlizzi’s fourth kill tied the set at 24, Malone’s eighth kill put the Warriors up 25-24, and an ace from Keelyn Kistner capped off a set-winning 5-0 run to tie the match at one apiece.
Westmont carried their momentum from the 5-0 run to end the second set and began the third set on a 4-0 run. Doane fired back to get within two at 6-4, but kills from Ashley Boswell and Sara Krueger sparked another 4-0 run, causing the Tigers to call a timeout with the Warriors leading 10-4.
The Warriors kept their foot on the gas pedal and the lead only grew out of the timeout. Eventually, Krueger’s fourth kill of the set gave Westmont a 25-15 win, and 2-1 match advantage. After going the entire first set without a single block, the Warriors picked up three blocks in each of the second and third sets.
In the fourth set, Doane came out swinging and jumped out to a 7-4 lead. From there, Westmont once again went on a run, this time an 8-2 swing to claim a 12-9 advantage. Doane trimmed the deficit to 13-12, but Westmont took complete control with a five-point run going into a timeout.
After an error from the Tigers, kills by Taylor Distelberg and Boswell followed by consecutive aces from Kaili Hashimoto gave the Warriors an 18-12 advantage. Out of the timeout, Terlizzi picked up her 10th and 11th kills to put Westmont up 20-12, and cap off an all but match-ending 7-0 run.
Moments later, Minch made it official with her game-high 16th kill and the Warriors took the fourth set by a score of 25-17 to win the match 3-1.
“We played a little bit hungry after dropping that first set,” said McGolpin. “We pressed the gas a bit and our blocking really picked up. When our blocking picked up, our defense played great behind them. Our right-siders in game one made the difference.”
Minch also led the Warriors with 26 digs, while Kistner and Alexa Shiner recorded 24 and 21 assists each, respectively. Terlizzi finished the match with 11 digs, while Malone finished with 10. Malone also led the club with four blocks.
In the second match of the day, Westmont went toe-to-toe with the William Woods Owls and picked up right where they left off against Doane. In the first set, once again a game-changing run swung momentum in favor of the Warriors.
Initially, the Owls led by as many as three at 13-10. Then, one of Terlizzi’s set-high six kills sparked a 7-0 run that allowed the Warriors to take control of the set by a score of 17-13. Later, Terlizzi ended the set with kill number six to seal the first game 25-18 in favor of Westmont.
In the second set, Westmont did not wait to trail before going on a run, jumping out to a 9-2 lead before the Owls could call timeout. Out of the timeout the Owls came all the way back to tie the set at 17, but from there, the Warriors were able to prevent further damage.
A kill from Taylor Distelberg began a set-ending 8-4 run that ended with Malone’s ninth kill of the match, and a 25-21 win to put the Warriors up 2-0.
In the third and final set, the Warriors had one last game-changing run in them. The Owls hung with Westmont for much of the game and trimmed a once four-point deficit to one at 14-13. Then, Westmont went on a 9-0 run to go up 23-13, taking complete control of the day’s final game.
Moments later, Distelberg’s ninth kill gave the Warriors a 25-16 win, and their first sweep of 2022.
“In our second match we had solid serving, great passing, and good defense,” reflected McGolpin. “The tide turned when we put up some blocks on them.”
Malone led the club with 14 kills while Minch added in 12 of her own. Both Minch and Kaili Hashimoto had a team-high 14 digs. Kistner notched another 26 assists, while Shiner added 15 of her own. At the net, both Distelberg and Krueger led the club with three blocks each.
Also of note, Malone’s 14 kills came on just 22 attempts, good for a .636 attack percentage. Distelberg, who picked up a career-high nine kills, posted an attack percentage of .615.
“They couldn’t stop our middles,” stated McGolpin. “Both Lexi and Taylor were on fire, and that match really turned into their show. That was one of the best matches we’ve seen her play since she got to Westmont.”
Tomorrow, Westmont will play Grand View (Iowa) at 1:00 p.m. CDT/11:00 a.m. PDT, before playing host Bellevue (Neb.) at 7:00 p.m. CDT/5:00 p.m. PDT. Then, Westmont fly home and prepare for their Golden State Athletic Conference opener, which will take place on September 10 at home against The Master’s.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.