Tuesday, October 23 , 2018, 2:47 am | Fog/Mist 56º

 
 
 
 
Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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College Volleyball

Samantha Neeley Guides No. 17 Westmont to 5th Straight Win

Samantha Neely pounded 13 kills and posted a .522 attack percentage as No. 17 Westmont Women's Volleyball (16-4, 7-3 GSAC) defeated GSAC opponent Arizona Christian (10-7, 6-5) in straight sets (25-20, 25-13, 25-23). Brooklyn Cheney added 10 kills while also producing 22 serve receptions and 10 digs.

"Sam showed mental fortitude to push through some pain she was experiencing and keep performing at a really high level, which her team needed her to do," said Westmont head coach Patti Cook.

Just two weeks ago, Westmont dropped to seventh place in the GSAC standings after losing its third GSAC game in a row and losing two-time All-American Libby Dahlberg to a high ankle sprain. Since that time, the Warriors have won five straight conference games and moved into sole position of second place.

Asked what that says about her team, Cook replied, "It says that we have a lot of resilience and that we are tougher than we think we are. A lot of air went out of the room when Cassidy Rea hurt her back, but we adapted to that. Then again, the air was sucked out of the room when Libby went down with an ankle sprain.

"There is a temptation to go to a dark place and think your season is over when impactful players get injured. I hope that the team is learning that you never, ever say die. I see the fight and the fire that has risen in them. That has built a huge confidence in them. I'm proud of the steps they have made both physically and mentally."

The Warriors fell behind early in the first set, falling behind 10-4 before Cook called a timeout. After the break, Westmont went on a 13-2 run to go ahead 17-12. Five different Warriors produced kills during the streak with Kaylee Ivie, Rea and Cheney contributing two each. The Firebirds did not get closer than three points the rest of the set.

Westmont never trailed in the second set. Leading 11-8, the Warriors scored the next seven points to go up by 10 and put the set out of reach.

The third set was much more closely contested with neither team holding more than a two-point advantage throughout. With the score tied at 20, Hali Galloway delivered her ninth kill of the game before a pair of Warrior attack errors put the Firestorm up by one at 22-21.

After a service error by Arizona Christian, Neely pounded the ball home to put the Warriors on top 23-22. One more time, the Firestorm tied the game – this time with a kill from Amanda Bakoyni. Another kill by Neely gave Westmont match point and sent Madison Morrison to the service line. Morrison put an end to the match by serving for an ace, her second of the game.

Senior setter Amy recorded 41 assists in the match. She also had three kills and four block assists.

"I liked what I saw out of Amy as a blocker and as a setter running the offense," said Cook. "She was giving her hitters a lot of options and making smart choices about when to dump and when to set her hitters. She was creating a lot of holes in the block."

The Warriors return to action on Tuesday when they host Life Pacific at Murchison Gymnasium. First serve is at 7 p.m.

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