Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 10:01 pm | Fair 55º

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College Volleyball

Westmont Outlasts Vanguard in Five Sets

In a showdown for second place in the Golden State Athletic Conference, NAIA No. 17 Westmont (19-4, 10-3 GSAC) outlasted No. 15 Vanguard (21-5, 8-4) in a five-set thriller.

After taking the first set 25-20, Westmont dropped sets two and three by scores of 25-20 and 25-23. However, the Warriors took control in the fourth set, notching a 25-21 victory to force the decisive fifth set. 

The Warriors fell behind 7-4 in the final frame, but put together a 9-1 run to go up 13-8. Amy Buffham delivered several serves that put the Lions out of system and resulted in three errors in a row by Vanguard. Then the Warrior attackers took over with hits from every angle. Hali Galloway, Cassidy Rea, Kaylee Ivie and Brooklynn Cheney each delivered a kill in the decisive run.

"It didn't feel like we were down 7-4," said Cook. "It felt like we were absolutely still in it. Everyone kicked it into second gear and played like there was nothing to lose."

Vanguard responded by scoring the next four points to pull within one (13-12), but back-to-back kills by Rea ended the threat and gave the Warriors the victory.

"Vanguard played a really good game," said Westmont head coach Patti Cook. "They seem to play us really well and really tight. Their outsides were swinging well, their right sides were making good plays and the middles were putting balls away when they needed to.

"The match was won in the small things, in the simple moments, where we kept on swinging away when maybe we were starting to feel nervous. We stayed composed when we could have lost our heads."

Rea led the Warriors with 19 kills while hitting .250. The total was the most Rea has ever accumulated in a GSAC match and second highest in her Warrior career.

"Cassidy didn't start super aggressive, it took her a little while to find her rhythm," said Cook. "Someone who is weaker mentally would have let that affect her in a negative manner. She turned it into a positive and brought us some points in some big moments. Cassidy had one of Vanguard's better blocker in front of her most of the night. For her to stay aggressive with her approach and continue to swing away was crucial."

After hitting a negative .222 in the first set, Rea turned things around to hit .371 the rest of the way.

Samantha Neely added 13 kills while hitting .312. Cheney added 12 kills while also contributing 31 serve receptions, 23 digs and three ace serves. Also producing double-digit kills was Galloway with 10. She also added 23 digs and recorded 20 serve receptions without an error.

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