Volleyball remains tied for first place in GSAC
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The No. 17 Westmont volleyball team was faced with a tough task this past weekend as they first faced the No. 21 Vanguard Lions and then the San Diego Christian Hawks.
The matchup with Vanguard is a rivalry that has reached new heights and entering Friday night’s match, the two teams had gone the distance in the previous five meetings, with the Warriors being 4-1 in that span.
The highly anticipated battle started off with neither team gaining a true advantage until Vanguard constructed two runs deep in the first set to take the lead 18-12. Unfazed, Westmont climbed back to 18-all with Hali Galloway and Cassidy Rea combining for five straight kills. Both schools fought back-and-forth until Lexi Malone’s block gave the Warriors set point at 24-23. Unable to capitalize, the set turned into a win-by-two battle. Down 27-28, Westmont’s attempt to stay alive in the first set failed with an attacking error.
Heavy hitting continued from both sides of the net in the second set, and once again neither school gained an edge. At 8-8, the Warriors broke through and rode that momentum to lead 14-8. However, the Lions clawed back and retook the lead 18-19. Trying to maintain the momentum swing, the Warriors tied the set up at 23, but they could not prevent Vanguard from stealing the second set 23-25.
Down two sets to none, Westmont stormed out to a 21-6 lead in the third set by taking advantage of sloppy play by Vanguard and kills by Galloway, Kerman, and Kendall Kenyon. Vanguard put together a good string of points to make the score 21-10, but their errors continued to pile up. Keelyn Kistner set to Rea, who closed the third set with a kill, 25-11.
Set four had kills and errors littering the stat sheet. With the score knotted up at 18, consecutive hitting errors by the Warriors put the Lions up by two. Vanguard pushed forward and took the largest lead of the set, 22-19. The Warriors fought back and with the help of more attacking errors, reached set point at 24-22. The Lions saved one of them, but Rea’s kill at 24-23 forced the two unbeatens of GSAC play into their sixth consecutive fifth set match.
The Warriors and the Lions struggled to find an opening towards victory as back-and-forth play continued. Down 7-8, Westmont conceded four straight points giving Vanguard a 7-12 lead and three points away from victory. However, the Warriors took the next five points from errors and a kill to tie the game at 12. A Vanguard kill followed by a Westmont attacking error gave Vanguard two match points. A mishandled serve ended Westmont’s comeback attempt and win-streak in heartbreak.
They needed to quickly bounce back as they then took on San Diego Christian, and they did just that. The Warriors dealt the Hawks their seventh loss in GSAC play by sweeping them 25-19, 25-19, 25-12. Westmont (15-3 overall, 6-1 GSAC) is now in a three-way tie for first place in the GSAC with Vanguard and Menlo.
This coming weekend, the Warriors will face-off against Menlo and William Jessup.