SANTEE — The Warriors’ attempt at a reverse sweep fell short on Friday night, as Westmont (9-7, 3-2 GSAC) fell in five sets to San Diego Christian (7-3, 3-2).
The Hawks took the first two sets by a score of 25-15 and 25-23, before Westmont tied things up with 25-19 and 25-21 set-victories of their own. Ultimately a 16-14 fifth-set win allowed the Hawks to prevail for their third conference win.
“They outworked us, they outhustled us, and they outplayed us,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “They showed more heart than we did, they had a better attitude than us, and they deserved to have the result go their way in the end.”
In the first set, San Diego Christian took control early and never looked back.
A kill by Ayanna Nunuha capped off a 7-3 run to start the match, and the Warriors were immediately put on their heels. Phoebe Minch’s second kill of the night pulled the club back within three at 11-8, but the Hawks responded with a 5-1 run to take a commanding 16-9 lead going into a Westmont timeout.
San Diego Christian ultimately cruised to a 25-15 victory in set one.
The second set began in a 4-4 tie, and the clubs kept each other within reach from there, maintaining the stalemate through 16 points.
Then, with the game knotted at 16, a service ace and an attacking error gave the Hawks an 18-16 lead, prompting McGolpin to use a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Westmont quickly tied things up again, before another two-point swing gave the Hawks a 21-19 advantage.
Kills by Jessie Terlizzi and Addie Paul once again tied things up at 22, but again a multi-point run from the opposition could not be avoided.
With the score tied at 23, consecutive attacking errors from Westmont gave San Diego Christian a 25-23 win, and a 2-0 set advantage.
“We’re just continuously coming out of the gate slowly,” said McGolpin. “We’ve tried everything to fix this but we just keep allowing teams to get these huge advantages and it gives us such little room for error.”
The third set saw the clubs knotted at six, then later at 11, with neither appearing poised to pull away. Finally, with the game knotted at 15, the Warriors went on a seven-point run to take a 22-15 lead.
Patty Kerman’s eighth kill of the match gave the club a 25-19 win to force a fourth set.
Like in set three, the fourth set began with the clubs trading one-point advantages. With the score tied at eight, San Diego went on a four-point run to take a 12-8 lead. Rather than letting the walls cave in, the Warriors quickly chipped away, tying things at 15 on Kerman’s 10th kill of the match.
From there, the club went on a 5-1 run capped off by Kerman’s 12th kill of the match to take a 20-16 lead. Later, Minch’s sixth kill of the match solidified a 25-21 win to force a decisive fifth set.
In the fifth set, Lexi Malone started things off with back-to-back kills, but San Diego Christian then scored seven of the next nine points to take a 7-4 lead. Then Westmont responded with a four-point run of their own to take an 8-7 lead.
The Hawks responded with a three-point swing to once again take the lead, this time at 10-8, causing McGolpin to call a timeout.
Following the timeout, the Hawks jumped out to a 13-10 advantage, but kills by Minch and Malone pulled the Warriors back within one. Down 14-12, the Warriors managed to tie things up on Malone’s seventh kill of the night, necessitating the eventual victor to possess a multi-point lead to claim the match.
Westmont’s attempt at a reverse sweep ultimately came up short, when a kill by the Hawks followed by a Westmont attacking error gave San Diego Christian a 16-14 win in set, and 3-2 match win.
“Defensively, we were no good,” said McGolpin. “Blocking got better as the match went on, and our attacking got better at times, but ultimately our defense didn’t give us a chance.
“They had nine service aces to our three, and then our nine reception errors killed us. This was a tough one.”
Terlizzi had an impressive night offensively, collecting 18 kills with an attack percentage of .424. Kerman was not far off from that mark, adding 14 of her own while hitting .387.
Keelyn Kistner and Sydny Dunn added 29 and 28 assists respectively, while Lilian Reininga led the club with 14 digs.
“I told the team after that match,” said McGolpin, “that you can’t just show up with a Westmont jersey on and expect to win. We have to go back to the drawing boards and figure out how to come out faster and maintain energy as the match goes on. We have a lot to work on.”
Jacob Norling is a sports information assistant at Westmont College.