The NAIA No. 23 Westmont volleyball team overcame a strong defensive effort by Antelope Valley to defeat the Pioneers in four sets (25-16, 22-25, 25-21, 25-14) on Tuesday night in its home opener.
“I think we got frustrated by how good of a defending team that was,” said head coach Ruth McGolpin. “We are not used to somebody consistently digging and digging like that and us not coming up with solutions.”
The Warriors seemed to get things going towards the end of the opening set after McGolpin called a timeout with her team up by two.
“The good news is in the first set when I called a timeout at 17-15, the other team only scored one more point,” said McGolpin. “That was a huge thing for us. I felt that gave us both mental and physical strength.”
After Antelope Valley won the second set, the Pioneers started quickly in the third set to take a 5-1 lead. The Warriors responded with five straight points to take a 6-5 lead. Westmont extended its lead to five at 15-10 and later held a 17-13 advantage. Antelope Valley then came within one to make the score 17-16, prompting another McGolpin timeout.
The timeout had a similar effect to the one McGolpin called for in the first set, as the Warriors scored three straight to go ahead 20-16 and ultimately win the third set 25-21.
“Before we played the last game, I said to the players, ‘Let’s show these fans really what Westmont volleyball looks like because I know you’re not comfortable with how we’ve been playing,’” said McGolpin. “They all agreed and then definitely set four was our best. They pulled it all together.”
McGolpin credited her team’s serving and tipping for the improved fourth set.
Hali Galloway and Brooklynn Cheney led the Warriors with 12 kills apiece, while Cassidy Rea pitched in 10 and Lexi Malone tallied eight.
Lauren Friis led the team with 22 digs while Cheney added 11. Keelyn Kistner and Sydny Dunn recorded 23 and 19 assists respectively.
The team now travels to Nebraska for the Bellevue University GoSarpy.com Labor Day Classic this weekend. Westmont will play two games on both Friday and Saturday, including against third-ranked Grand View (Iowa) and No. 22 Bellevue (Neb.) on Friday.
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