Westmont College Volleyball never stopped fighting, but on Friday night in Sioux City the Warriors’ final season in the NAIA came to an end in the final Pool C tiebreaker. In the first of two one-set tiebreakers, the Warriors prevailed over the Bellevue Bruins by a score of 25-21, but in the final Pool C tiebreaker, Westmont fell to the Midland Warriors by a score of 25-20.
“We never gave up,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “We were scrambling, there were bodies on the ground, and we never stopped swinging. Even down to the set point, we never stopped fighting. To continue to fight is a Westmont trait, and what Westmont Volleyball is all about in a nutshell.”
Needing to win two one-set tiebreakers, Westmont began play against Bellevue at 9:00 p.m. CST, and fell behind briefly by a score of 1-0. Immediately, Westmont scored twice to go up 2-1, and from there, the Warriors never trailed again.
A kill from Jessie Terlizzi put Westmont up 9-5 going into Bellevue’s first timeout, and soon after, the Bruins fought back to tie it at 10. Then, two kills and a block from Phoebe Minch sparked a 7-2 run that caused Bellevue to use their final timeout down 17-12.
Bellevue never again got within striking distance, and in the end, Minch’s fourth kill of the set allowed Westmont to win it 25-21, setting up a final set to 25 against Midland.
Against Midland, Westmont was first on the board, but just as Westmont did to Bellevue, Midland quickly flipped the script to take a 3-1 advantage. Midland collected nine early kills to take an 11-7 advantage into McGolpin’s first timeout, with Westmont quickly running out of time.
However, as McGolpin’s Warriors have done all season, the group continued to fight. Down 12-7, kills from Minch and Terlizzi bookended an 8-3 run that allowed Westmont to tie the game at 15, and roar to the heavens for the final time in 2022.
Midland followed up Westmont’s 8-3 run with a 9-1 run of their own, going up 24-16 with the finish line in sight. To leave a fitting lasting impression, Westmont scored on four consecutive possessions, forcing Midland to call one final timeout.
Then, Midland’s 17th kill of the set gave the team a 25-20 win, and the right to advance to the NAIA Quarterfinals on Saturday.
With the end of the campaign, the careers of Lexi Malone, Keelyn Kistner, and Alexa Gatiss officially come to an end at Westmont College. The three will be remembered for being a part of the first team in Westmont history to play in the Championship match (2019), but more so, for embodying what it means to be a Westmont Warrior for four long and emotional years.