SIOUX CITY, Iowa. — After falling to the Bellevue Bruins (28-7) on Thursday, Westmont Volleyball’s fate is up in the air ahead of Friday’s pool play finale at the NAIA National Championships.
The Warriors lost in four sets, 25-15, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19.
Having beaten Midland in four sets on Wednesday, Westmont (24-7) needs Midland to defeat Bellevue on Friday in order to force a tiebreaker scenario.
A Midland victory would give all three teams identical 1-1 records in the pool, which would lead to a pair of one-set tiebreakers to 25 that would be played late Friday evening. Following Midland’s contest against Bellevue, the results would determine which two teams would have to play a ‘semifinal’ tiebreaker, and which team would await the winner for a knock-out game to 25.
On Thursday, Westmont had a chance to clinch their spot in the NAIA Quarterfinals with a win, but the Bruins of Bellevue did not allow the Warriors to come near that possibility.
“All credit goes to Bellevue,” reflected Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “They made very few mistakes, they were bombing balls, and their setter made really good choices. Still, our team didn’t back down. They continued to battle to the very end.
“We continued to try and stay aggressive, and we never backed down from the fight. That’s all you can ask for from a team.”
In set one, the Bruins broke into double-digits at 10-6, before putting the set to bed early moments later. Up 11-7, three Bellevue kills sparked a 5-0 run that put the Bruins up 16-7 in the heart of the set. Bellevue never surrendered control as they ultimately won a tone-setting 25-15 opener.
In set two, Westmont responded after initially trailing 14-10. Out of a McGolpin timeout, Westmont fought back with a 7-2 run, taking their first lead 17-16. Later, a kill from Lexi Malone put Westmont up 24-19, but the Bruins answered with a four-point swing to cut it to 24-23. Then, Westmont was given their lone chance to erupt when Jessie Terlizzi recorded a kill to win it 25-23, momentarily tying the match at one apiece.
In the swing set, Westmont hung with Bellevue as the game entered double-digits with Bellevue leading by just one at 11-10. At that point, however, the Bruins scored on three consecutive Westmont errors, and then recorded a service ace to put them up 15-10. The Warriors continued to fight back, but were never able to close the gap as the Bruins went up 2-1 with a 25-22 win.
In set four, Westmont initially led early at 5-4, but Bellevue caused immediate stress for Westmont by scoring six unanswered points to go up 10-5. The Warriors got back within a pair at 11-9, but Bellevue then scored six of the next eight points, going up with 17-11 with the finish line in sight.
In the end, Bellevue’s 55th kill of the match gave the Bruins a 25-19 win and a 3-1 match victory, giving Bellevue the chance to control their own destiny on Friday.
Westmont will gather in the Tyson Events and watch the final match of Pool C unfold.