Playing in their first five set match of the season, the NAIA No. 17 Westmont Volleyball team (14-3, 5-1 GSAC) came up just short in the final game, 15-12, at conference rival 21st-ranked Vanguard (15-2, 6-0 GSAC). The Warriors extended the Lions to the decisive set after losing the first two games by slim margins, 29-27 and 25-23 and suffered their first GSAC defeat of the season.
The match scores were 29-27, 25-23, 11-25, 23-25, 15-12.
“It was a good effort by our players,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “It definitely was good to see that we had the guts to get after it in games three and four and not just shut it down and concede the match.”
In the opening set Westmont was down by as many as five points before finally catching the Lions at 19 on a kill by Cassidy Rea. Vanguard would close out both of the first two sets with consecutive points to break the ties and convert them into a two game lead.
“We definitely had opportunities to win both of those sets,” noted McGolpin. “We just couldn’t put the pieces together down the stretch offensively to get the advantage.”
In the third game, the Warriors responded to the road test and stormed back winning the set 25-11, followed by a solid 25-23 victory in the fourth.
“Cassidy caught fire in game three and so did Brooklyn (Cheney),” said McGolpin of her team’s resurgence. “Their crowd was really loud. It was a great atmosphere but it was intense and our players were calm, cool and collected. We did a good job keeping it together, making plays.”
In the fifth set the Lions took a five point lead 12-7 but Westmont made a quick run to tie it up at 12 before succumbing, 15-12.
“We went too easy in that fifth set. We got tentative in our passing and we just roll shot it. We weren’t crisp with our decision making,” explained McGolpin. “It’s all about growth. Every team we’ve lost to has been ranked so we’ll just get back on track tomorrow and then we’ll see them (Vanguard) at our place in October.
“We’re in second place so we should be more hungry now.”
Westmont’s Keelyn Kistner led all players with 32 assists.
The Warriors continue their road trip south to play San Diego Christian on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.