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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 4:41 pm | Fair 62º

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

Westmont Attack Too Much for UC Merced

Middle blocker Libby Dahlberg and right side hitter Samantha Neely produced a .500 attack percentage, leading NAIA No. 7 Westmont Volleyball (4-1) to a sweep of UC Merced on Monday afternoon in the Warriors' home opener.  The scores were 25-18, 28-26, 25-12.

Dahlberg tallied 12 kills in the match while Neely added 11. Freshman outside hitter Hali Galloway recorded nine kills and posted a .261 attack percentage.

"Samantha Neely has come out dominating her junior year," said Westmont coach Patti Cook. "Today's game was really impressive. That is the kind of play we saw from her at the Hope International Tournament. I'm really excited to see what she does with this season. Her upperclassman leadership and her aggressive attacking is really being felt by the team."

Cook also liked Galloway's aggressiveness.

"It was fun seeing Hali swing away," said Cook. "She has a fun style of play that is going to be a joy to watch this season."

Up 7-6 in the first set, Westmont put together an 8-1 run that included two kills by freshman outside hitter Brooklynn Cheney (7 kills, 15 serve receptions, 14 digs), a combination block by Neely and Dahlberg and kills by Neely, Dahlberg and Galloway. The Warriors maintained at least a five-point advantage the rest of the set.

"I was really happy with the way that Brooklyn fluidly stepped into the game with Taylor (Beckman) out," said Cook. "She raised her level of play in the front row because she knew she was needed. The team relied on her and I was thrilled to see the way she rose to the challenge."

An unwelcome encounter with a pair of dogs at East Beach left Beckman unable to participate in the match.

In the second set, the Bobcats won six of the next seven rallies to go up 22-18 and led  24-19. 

Westmont tied the score at 24 and the teams traded sideouts to make it 25-all.

Jade Fachin put the Bobcats in set-point position one more time with a kill, but a Bobcat service error tied the score at 26. Neely delivered a blow that gave Westmont its first set point at 27-26. It turned out to be the only one they would need as another Bobcat attack error gave the Warriors a 28-26 win.

In the final set, Westmont jumped out to a 9-1 lead and never looked back.

Junior setter Amy Buffham tallied 23 assists for the Warriors while freshman Camryn Kaina contributed another 17. Senior libero Linday Paulo notched 12 digs and 12 serve receptions while freshman defensive specialist Lauren Friis added nine serve receptions and 11 digs.

Next up for Westmont are three matches at the La Sierra Tournament. On Thursday, Westmont will take on No. 16 Cornerstone of Michigan (4-0) at 3:00 p.m. before playing La Sierra (0-1) at 7:00 p.m. Friday, the Warrior will match up with Saint Katherine. 

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