(SIOUX CENTER, Iowa) Westmont Volleyball, the only undefeated team in the NAIA, took its winning streak on the road and improved its record to 21-0 by taking the first two of four games in the state of Iowa.
The No. 2 Warriors, playing at Dordt College’s De Witt Gym, picked up a 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-12) win against the College of Saint Mary from Nebraska. An hour and one-half later, the Warriors took on their eleventh-ranked hosts and won a five-set thriller 15-25, 25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 15-11.
In the opener, Westmont posted a .394 attack percentage while holding the Flames (6-11) to .056. The Warriors also benefitted from five blocks and went unblocked by Saint Mary.
Westmont outside hitter Jessica McCann had a monster game, tallying 13 kills over the three-set game and posting a .545 attack percentage. Fellow outside hitter Taylor Beckman added seven kills and hit at a .500 rate. Right-side hitter Sam Neely added six kills with a .333 attack percentage. Libero Kami Troesh guarded the back row for the Warriors, tallying 14 serve receptions and 22 digs.
The second game proved to be more of a challenge for the Warriors, as would be expected against a ranked opponent like Dordt (13-5). Westmont claimed the win despite scoring less total points (106 to 101), being outhit (.236 to .175) and being out-blocked (15-9).
The tide turned in the match’s second set. Down 12-11, Westmont produced a seven-point run behind the serving, and setting, of Alexa Nestlerode. Cassidy Rea and Beckman each had two kills during the run and Libby Dahlberg added one. Dahlberg and Beckman paired up for a block as well.
Dordt pulled to within one point (20-19) before Rea and Emma Harrah teamed up on a block. An attack error by Dordt’s Brooke Granstra made the score 22-19. A kill by Granstra made it 22-20 before another Dordt error gave Westmont a three-point lead. Beckman stretched Westmont’s advantage to 24-20 with a kill off a set by Amy Buffham before Granstra had back-to-back kills to make the score 24-22.
Westmont head coach Patti Cook called time out from which the Warriors emerged with a kill by Beckman to even the match at one set apiece.
Westmont held a 17-16 lead in the third set when Neely connected for three kills in a five-point run. Dordt responded with a three-point run, including two kills by Elizabeth Kiel, making the score 22-20. A kill by Beckman and a block by Beckman and Dahlberg gave Westmont set-point at 24-20. Though Dordt scored the next three points, a kill by Beckman prevented the set’s extension and gave Westmont a 2-1 lead in sets.
In the fourth set, Dordt held an 18-17 lead when it went on a 4-0 run to pull ahead by five. The Defenders went on to even the match at two sets each with a four-point win.
In the fifth and deciding set, Westmont took control early by jumping out to a 6-1 lead. Back-to-back aces by Dahlberg started the run and were followed by a service ace by Troesh.
After Dordt pulled to within two (6-3), the Warriors scored the next three points to take a commanding 9-3 lead in the game to 15. Dordt would get no closer than three points the rest of the way.
Rea led the Warriors with 15 points (.333 attack percentage) while Dahlberg contributed 14 to the Warriors’ cause (.343 attack percentage). Beckman added 13 kills and McCann 11.
The Warriors continue their Iowa road trip tomorrow when they travel to Orange City and the campus of Northwestern College. The Warriors will take on Concordia of Nebraska (11-11) at 1:30 PDT and Northwestern (12-13) at 4:00 p.m.