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College Volleyball

Westmont Volleyball Advances to NAIA Round of 16

Warriors rally from first-set loss, beat Indiana Wesleyan in four to finish second in pool

Clutch hitting from freshman Cassidy Rea and sophomore Emma Harrah enabled top-seeded Westmont to get past Indiana Wesleyan in four sets and advance out of pool into the Round of 16 at the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championship in Sioux City, Iowa on Thursday.

Rea and Harrah combined for 17 kills, helping the Warriors to a 28-30, 25-18 25-20, 25-22 victory to finish 2-1 in Pool A. They advance to a Round of 16 match against Viterbo, Wisc. (42-2), at 1:30 CST. Viterbo won Pool B with a 3-0 record. The winner of that match advances to the quarterfinals at 8:15 p.m. CST.

Westmont, now 33-1, was coming off its first loss of the season, a five-set thriller against Columbia College, Mo. Columbia ended up winning Pool A with a 3-0 record.

The Warriors got good balance in Thursday’s win. Jessica McCann led the team with 15 kills, Taylor Beckman had 14 and Libby Dahlberg 12. The 6-foot-3 Rea, from Buena High, provided nine kills on the outside, and Harrah, a San Marcos alum, put away eight in the middle.  Westmont hit .284 as a team.

Kami Troesh picked up 26 digs to pace the defensive effort; Beckman added 17 and Courtney Crosby had 14. Setters Alexa Nestlerode and Amy Buffham played solid, handing out 34 and 27 assists, respectively.

Remy Bucknor carried the load for Indiana Wesleyan (35-4) with 18 kills on a .508 hitting percentage.

Bucknor rallied Indiana Wesleyan from a 20-14 deficit in the first set. The score went back and forth until Bucknor put a ball away for a 29-28 lead. She then followed with a block for the winning point.

Westmont trailed early in the second set before getting on a roll and tying the score at 13-13. Harrah helped spark a 6-0 run that put the Warriors in the lead for good. Dahlberg finished the set with a kill.

Rea started a four-point run in the third set to put Westmont ahead 13-7. She later posted back-to-back kills for a 20-12 advantage.

Harrah provided a huge lift in the fourth set, combining on back-to-back blocks and delivering a kill to put the Warriors up 14-12.

Indiana Wesleyan reclaimed the lead, 16-15, on a kill by Kylie Portera.

Buffham fed Crosby and Samantha Neely for back-to-back kills, giving Westmont a 17-16 advantage.

The score see-sawed until a block by Dahlberg ignited a three-point run by the Warriors. Nestlerode served an ace and Dahlberg scored off a Beckman assist for a 23-20 lead. Beckman scored the 24th point and a service error by Indiana Wesleyan ended the match.

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