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College Volleyball

After 32 Straight Wins, Westmont Drops First Match

Westmont's women's volleyball team suffered its first loss of the season Wednesday in its second pool-play match at the NAIA National Championship in Sioux City, Iowa.

The Warriors fell in five sets against tall and physical Columbia College (Mo.), squad. The scores were 27-25, 25-21, 21-25, 17-25, 15-9.

Westmont (1-1 in the tournament) plays its final pool play match Thursday against Indiana Wesleyan (1-1) while Columbia (2-0) plays against Indiana-Kokomo (0-2).

The Warriors had won 32 straight matches, including their pool-play opener on Tuesday. They ran up against a Columbia squad that had a 6-foot 2 attacker from China, a 6-foot middle from Greece, 6-foot outside hitter from Colombia and a 6-2 middle from Oklahoma.

Westmont had a few swings at winning the first set (24-22, 24-23 and 25-24) but Columbia fought them off and pulled out the win. With the score tied at 25, the Cougars' Eirini Chatziefstratiadou and Caroline Clifford combined on a block and Chatziefstratiadou followed with a kill for the winning point. It was the first set Westmont had lost in their past eight matches dating back to October when they defeated William Jessup (Calif.) University 3-1.

Westmont came alive in the third set and started the game on an 8-1 run. They carried  momentum into the fourth set and dominated the Cougars from the opening serve.

In the fifth set, Columbia was ahead 7-6 before going on a 5-1 run to put the set out of reach for Westmont.

“Our performance was better than yesterday’s," Westmont coach Patti Cook said. "We played at a very high level.”

Freshman Cassidy Rea led the Warriors with 14 kills, Jessica McCann had 13, Taylor Beckman 11 and Libby Dahlberg 10. Libero Kami Troesh picked up 33 digs and Beckman had 13 to complete a double-double.

Peiji Liu, Columbia's 6-3 outside hitter from China, led all players with 16 kills. She is the reigning National Player of the Year. Setter Shashiko Heredia, of Mexico, dished out 52 assists.

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