Women’s Volleyball stuck in a three-way tie for first place

Tim Heiduk, Sports Editor

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After beating William Jessup in four sets on Friday, the Westmont women’s volleyball team (21-6 overall, 12-4 GSAC) missed out on a chance to take over first place outright in the Golden State Athletic Conference when they lost to Menlo in five sets in a thrilling encounter on Saturday evening. As a result, the Warriors are stuck in a three-way tie for first place with Menlo (16-9, 12-4) and Hope International (18-8, 12-4).

The Warriors entered last weekend tied atop the conference standings with Hope International. The team left early on Friday morning to make the long drive up to Rocklin, where they took on William Jessup. Things didn’t start as planned for Westmont, as the Warriors dropped the first set 23-25. But the team responded by winning the next three sets to win the match in four sets: 23-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-20.

“The three keys to win that match were our defense, our blocking got better, and then we served tough,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin.

Brooklynn Cheney led the Warriors with a career-high 15 kills, followed by Patty Kerman’s nine. Sydny Dunn recorded 24 assists, while Keelyn Kistner added 12. Lauren Friis led the defense with 19 digs, while Cassidy Rea and Lexi Malone each tallied five blocks.

The team remained in a tie for first place with Hope International entering Saturday’s matchup at Menlo, which was the Oaks’ Senior Night. Similarly to their matchup the night before, the Warriors started out slowly, but this time lost each of the first two sets. Then Westmont turned it on.

Facing a 2-0 deficit, the Warriors responded in an emphatic way, winning set three 25-16 before taking set four 25-18, to force a winner-take-all fifth set. Westmont had a 10-6 lead and was five points away from spoiling Menlo’s Senior Night, but the Oaks had other ideas, coming back to take a 14-13 lead. The Warriors saved match point, but were unable to do so a couple points later when the match ended on a controversial call that went in the Oaks’ favor.

Rea led the team with 15 kills, while Cheney recorded 12. Kistner tallied 28 assists, while Dunn added 15. Friis and Cheney led the defense with 21 digs each, while Malone had five blocks.

Westmont returns home for its final two regular season games this weekend. The Warriors will honor Rea on Friday for Senior Night, against Arizona Christian at 7:00 p.m. The team finishes up regular season play against Ottawa (Arizona) on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. With two wins, Westmont will clinch at least a share of the GSAC regular season title, and its seeding for the upcoming GSAC Tournament will be dependent on other results and tiebreakers.