Westmont Volleyball (27-6) passed it first test at the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championship with flying colors.
On the first day of pool play, the Warriors swept ninth-ranked Columbia (Mo.) in straight sets (25-21, 25-21, 25-22).
In six previous matches with the Cougars (27-5), Westmont had yet to be victorious. All but the most recent of the previous match-ups had been in National Tournament play.
“The team played great,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “Our serving was spectacular. We served to their most effective attackers, getting them out of rhythm. Hali Galloway passed nails and Brooklyn Cheney was on fire defensively. We were aggressive attacking and our setters spread the offense nicely, taking risks that paid off. They set our middles – Lexi Malone and Kendall Kenyon – at good times.”
Malone led the Warriors in kills with 11, posting a .455 attack percentage. Galloway added three blocks and five digs.
Setters Keelyn Kistner and Sydny Dunn combined for 27 kills while Lauren Friis led the team in digs at 22.
Pool play continues Wednesday against the eighth-ranked Jimmies of Jamestown from North Dakota (30-4)
“The Jimmies will give us a different look,” said McGolpin. “They run a 6-2 and are significantly bigger. They have a real strong middle blocker. However, if we put the pieces together, we have a pretty good shot at it.”
The tournament in Sioux City is comprised of 32 teams that are divided into eight pools of four teams each. The top two teams from each pool advance to a 16-team, single-elimination bracket.
Jamestown is the top ranked team in Pool H. Columbia was the second-seeded team and Westmont the third. The fourth team is Xavier of Louisiana (31-7) whom the Warriors will play on Thursday. Jamestown defeated Xavier 3-1.