Volleyball back up to first after defeating two rivals

Caleb Soto, Staff Writer

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The Westmont volleyball team picked up two huge wins last weekend against San Diego Christian and Vanguard to move up into a tie atop the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) standings. The Warriors (20-5 overall, 11-3 GSAC) are now tied for first place with Hope International (17-7 overall, 11-3 GSAC), who have won eight matches in a row.

On Friday against San Diego Christian, the Warriors notched 33 kills (11 by Cassidy Rea, eight by Brooklyn Cheney, and five by Lexi Malone) and posted a .316 attack percentage in their 25-10, 25-9, 25-11 rout of the Hawks. Defense also played a vital role, as Lauren Friis and Cheney tallied 33 of the team’s 46 digs. Lately, the Warriors have bounced back from recent struggles, but that was put to the test against their evenly matched foe, the Vanguard University Lions.

The Lions came out sluggish, possibly still recovering from a tough 5-set win over The Master’s the night before. Westmont took immediate control of the first set, going up 8-2 before Vanguard called a timeout. At one point, the Warriors were up by as much as nine, but the Lions closed the deficit little by little. However, an attacking error by the Lions gave the Warriors the first set, 25-20.

Westmont continued to come up big offensively and defensively. Keelyn Kistner and Sydney Dunn facilitated the offense well, while Friis and Cheney extended the rallies for the Warriors. With both kinds of play working smoothly, Westmont shot out to an 11-2 lead in the second set. Vanguard at one point put together a 5-0 run after falling behind 22-9, but Westmont’s iron wall of blockers in Patty Kerman and Kendall Kenyon, inspired by the blocks from Rea and Malone, closed out the second set 25-15.

Westmont fell behind early in the third set as Vanguard began to find its groove. Vanguard’s blockers began tipping more of Westmont’s attacks and the Lions’ back row began to dig better. Down 5-10, the Warriors fought back and got the score to 17-19. However, the Warriors committed a few errors and the Lions took advantage, taking the third set 25-19.

Set four showcased both teams at their best. Throughout the whole set, neither team strung together three consecutive points. Both teams varied their attacks more with more tips and slide hits. Midway through the fourth set, Vanguard managed to take two consecutive points and go up 14-13. Back-and-forth play continued, with Westmont unable to retake the lead until they won two points in a row to go up 17-16. Vanguard then took back the lead 18-17, but Westmont stormed back. After kills by Malone and Cheney, the Warriors had the lead at 21-20. At 22-22, Rea tallied her 16th kill and blocks by Cheney and Kenyon gave Westmont two match points, but a service error and attacking error quickly erased their chances. However, Westmont stayed composed as Kerman and Kenyon came up with a huge block to give Westmont another match point. After another long rally, Kerman pushed a spike deep into Vanguard territory just out of reach for Vanguard’s back row, sealing Westmont’s third straight victory (25-20, 25-15, 19-25, 26-24).

This coming weekend the Warriors will travel to face William Jessup (12-9 overall, 9-5 GSAC) on Friday and Menlo (14-9 overall, 10-4 GSAC) on Saturday.