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Before last season, no Westmont volleyball team had ever gone undefeated in the Golden State Athletics Conference (GSAC). Now it’s happened two years in a row.
After two wins at home this past weekend to close out its conference season, Westmont improved its GSAC winning streak to 30 matches, including 14-0 this season after going 16-0 in the conference last year.
Following a successful 2016 season where only one set was dropped throughout conference play, the Warriors had a target on their backs coming into this season. Head Coach Patti Cook remarked that, “We would love to repeat an undefeated conference regular season.” With a team of six freshman, it was important for her team to have experienced the kind of success that they had last year.
Westmont volleyball has been around for almost forty years and the Warriors have been named regular season champs before, but they had not had an undefeated conference record until 2016, which is why having this success is vital to the freshmen. It’s a sweet feeling for the freshmen, but even sweeter for those who were a part of it last year. As Coach Cook put it, “We are building on the momentum of last year and the first-year players have been an amazing addition.”
A lot of the credit goes to the coaching ability of Cook. Having the experience as a three-time NAIA All-American player coupled with being a Westmont alumna has taken the women’s volleyball program from a decent team to national contenders and top-five rankings in a span of seven years. All of that, as well as the team’s hard work and effort were needed to complete back-to-back undefeated conference regular seasons.
This past weekend saw conference play come to a close with wins against William Jessup University and Menlo College.
The William Jessup match went three sets with the Warriors winning 25-21, 25-17, and 25-15. Cassidy Rea led the way with 10 kills and Camryn Kaina had 14 digs along with 20 assists. This match also honored the four seniors on the team, Taylor Beckman, Emma Harrah, Mila Maricic, and Lindsay Paulo. While the Warriors had already claimed first in the GSAC, this win pushed them one step closer to being undefeated in the conference for the second consecutive year. Menlo College was the only obstacle left.
The Warriors had a shaky start dropping the first set, 16-25. However, they picked up their game and settled in as they took the next three sets by storm, 25-16, 25-16, 25-19, capping off its second consecutive undefeated conference season.
Leading the way on offense was Beckman with 17 kills and Kaina with 28 assists. Defensively, Libby Dahlberg tallied 6 blocks and Lauren Friis collected 27 digs.
The road to success for this team does not end there even after their 30th straight GSAC regular season win. Ranked sixth in the NAIA and seeded first in the GSAC Tournament, the Warriors look to carry that momentum on Saturday in the conference tournament and moving on into Nationals.