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The fifth ranked Westmont women’s volleyball team continued its impressive run with two more victories last week, Wednesday night over the Cal Lutheran and Saturday night against The Master’s.
Entering this match, the Warriors had an eleven-match win streak and eyed the chance for a dozen straight. Early on it was a back-and-forth affair, until the Warriors went on a 6-0 run making it 18-11. However, the defensive minded Regals were not going to hand over the set so easily. A late-set swing of six points closed the deficit to two. The Warriors ultimately prevailed as Neely closed out the set 25-22 with a kill on one of setter Amy Buffham’s 20 assists.
Warriors’ Head Coach Patti Cook explained the difficult adjustment of “hitting away from their libero” due to scrappy defense. With that in mind, the Warriors’ offense continued to chip away at the Regal’s defense, proving they were offensively stronger. Again, the Regals attempted a late set comeback, but the margin was just too wide as the Warriors took the second set 25-18.
With the end in sight, the Warriors burst out of the break with an 11-0 run to start the third set. Already down two sets, the Regals looked deflated, succumbing to the pounding of the Warrior’s attacks. Brooklynn Cheney finished the set and match with a kill, giving the Warriors a 25-22, 25-18, 25-9 victory. Sam Neely and Libby Dahlberg led the Warriors with ten kills apiece.
Following this victory was the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) opener against The Master’s College Mustangs. Momentum swung over to the Warriors early and they never looked back, quickly taking the first set 25-12. A strong effort in the second set by the Mustangs forced the Warriors to claw their way back from an early 11-5 hole, eventually taking their first lead at 15-14. However, some errors on the Warriors side coupled with solid blocks by Masters—three-straight at one point—catapulted them to a 25-21 second set win. The first set lost by the Warriors in eight matches.
Suddenly tied at one set each, the Warriors appeared a bit rattled. The Mustangs maintained control and were primed for taking the third set when leading 17-10. Belief surged back into the Warriors as Neely helped spring forth a couple of runs for the Warriors. Backing her up was Hali Galloway and Cassidy Rea, as the offense found its groove, taking the third set 25-21.
A ramped-up fourth set began with both sides riding little momentum swings. A Mustangs’ error surrendered the first match point to the Warriors at 24-23, but was quickly erased. Soon after, a kill by Rea finalized the match, giving Westmont their 13th straight triumph as the GSAC opener came to an exciting finish with the score 25-12, 21-25, 25-21, 26-24. The Warriors’ deadly offense tallied 57 kills, compared to the Mustangs’ 32. Neely again led the way with 15 kills, followed by Rea’s 13 and Dahlberg’s ten. On the defensive side, freshman Cheney lead the team with 20 digs.
“We have an increasing target growing on our backs” commented Neely. “Everyone is gunning for us.” Westmont (14-1 overall, 1-0 GSAC) will continue its defense of the GSAC title and put its 13-match winning streak on the line against San Diego Christian at home on Friday at 7 p.m. The Warriors will also play Arizona Christian at home on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.