Volleyball claims co-GSAC championship

Caleb Soto, Staff Writer

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The Westmont women’s volleyball team clinched a share of the GSAC regular season title with Menlo after victories over Arizona Christian and Ottawa (Arizona) last weekend. Due to tiebreakers, Westmont will be the second seed and have a first round bye in the GSAC Tournament this weekend. The tournament will be hosted by Menlo, the top seed.

The Warriors, along with those inside Murchison Gymnasium, celebrated Senior Night on Friday. That night belonged to Cassidy Rea, the only senior on the team, as posters with number 11 were scattered around the bleachers.

Truly this was her night as she, along with Hali Galloway, led the offensive barrage with 13 kills each. Rea contributed early by getting back-to-back kills in Westmont’s 7-0 run to open their match against the Arizona Christian University Firestorm. The Warriors had no problems with the Firestorm in the first set, which Galloway capped off with a kill. Westmont captured the first set 25-12.

Arizona Christian still looked out of sorts in the second set, committing more errors and allowing Westmont to have its way offensively. Aside from the Warriors’ offense, Lauren Friis stabilized the defensive end, giving the Firestorm no open court. Except for a 5-0 run by the Firestorm midway through the second set, Westmont handled its business and took the set, 25-13. 

A lapse in the Warriors’ focus opened the door for the Firestorm in set three, as ACU began digging and blocking better. Westmont had only a small disadvantage throughout the third set, but never gained full control. After a questionable call by the officials, ACU had a late edge in the set. With the score 23-24, a couple incredible digs by ACU helped the Firestorm win the set 23-25 and force a fourth.

Propelled by Kendall Kenyon’s kill, the Warriors quickly brought the momentum back to their side. During the fourth set, the Warriors cultivated three 5-0 runs and put pressure on the Firestorm like they did in sets one and two. At 24-13, Sydney Dunn set up Brooklyn Cheney for her ninth kill, sealing victory for Westmont 25-12, 25-13, 23-25, 25-13.

Following Friday’s win, the Warriors met the Ottawa University Spirit in Murchison Gym for the final match before the GSAC tournament. Unlike the previous match, Westmont did not start out as quickly as it is accustomed to. However, a Rea kill made the score 14-12 and Westmont began its separation from the Spirit. Friis followed up Rea’s kill with two straight aces. Not long afterwards, Westmont claimed the first set 25-17 on an OUAZ service error.

Similar to the first set, the Spirit got off to a quick start in set two and were up 8-5 before Westmont called a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Warriors played their brand of volleyball and seized nine of the next 11 points before OUAZ was forced to use a timeout. The Warriors continued to ride their momentum all the way to take set two 25-17 off another OUAZ service error.

Rea set the tone for the third set with a kill. Patty Kerman, Rea, Galloway, and Cheney swung freely and earned kills left and right. Westmont’s offensive prowess led Westmont to triumph 25-17, 25-17, 25-13.

The Warriors play on Saturday in the second semifinal against either third-seeded Vanguard or sixth-seeded William Jessup. If they win that match, they will advance to the championship game later that night.