Westmont Volleyball (21-4, 15-2 GSAC) stretched their season long win streak to nine games on Friday night, after defeating the Menlo Oaks (12-13, 8-9) in four sets. In a tightly-contested ending, Westmont handed Menlo only their second loss at home this season in 10 matches.

Tonight’s match was the first time the Oaks have lost in Atherton since their home opener in August.

“Lexi Malone, our senior captain, said it best tonight,” offered Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “Lexi said she was ‘so proud of the chemistry of this team and how resilient they can be.’ They just continue to come together and play for one another.”

In the first set, after taking an initial 7-6 lead, kills from Jessie Terlizzi and Malone bookended a 9-2 run by Westmont that allowed them to take control at 16-8. Later on the Oaks got back within three at 19-16, but the Warriors closed out the set on a 6-1 run to take the match-opener.

In set two, the Oaks jumped out a lead and each time the Warriors flirted with erasing it, Menlo pushed Westmont back just far enough. After a Westmont attacking error, Menlo established a large lead in the first part of the set at 13-7.

Later on, a bad set for the Oaks brought Westmont back within two at 15-13. With the Warriors on Menlo’s heels, a pair of kills from the Oaks sparked a 6-2 run for Menlo, causing McGolpin to call a timeout down 21-15. Westmont got back within three at 22-19, but a service error for the Warriors halted momentum and any further chance for a comeback.

Eventually, an attacking error from Westmont brought an end to a 25-20 win for the Oaks, tying the match at one apiece.

In set three, Keelyn Kistner began the game on a four-point service run to quickly put momentum back in the Warriors’ hands. Moments later, an ace from Phoebe Minch followed by a kill from Ashley Boswell forced the Oaks to call a timeout, already trailing 8-3.

The Warriors and the Oaks traded points for several minutes after Menlo’s first timeout, as the Oaks found their footing without putting a dent into Westmont’s advantage. Later on, after a kill from Minch and a Menlo attacking error, the Oaks were forced to call their final timeout trailing 17-11.

Minutes later, Westmont closed the game on a 5-0 run, and a 4-point service run by Minch to win game three in dominant fashion by the score of 25-14.

In set four the Oaks initially came out with a vengeance, jumping on top 10-5 before McGolpin’s first timeout. During the opening run, the Warriors committed three service errors, as the Oaks added a pair of service aces themselves.

Down 15-10, Westmont began their march to 25. Kills by Sara Krueger and Minch combined with a pair of Menlo attacking errors brought Westmont’s bench alive, and caused the Oaks to call timeout clinging on a 15-14 advantage.

Following the timeout, back-to-back kills from Minch gave Westmont a 16-15 lead. The Warriors did not pull away immediately however, as the Oaks continued to trade punches with the Warriors.

Knotted at 18, a kill from Malone and an ace from Kistner caused the Oaks to use their final timeout trailing 20-18. However, the Oaks immediately scored twice to tie it themselves, forcing McGolpin to call her final timeout.

The sides refused to blink as the set headed towards a conclusion, and finally, with the set tied at 23, Krueger brought an end to the night with a pair of electric plays. First, off a high set from Alexa Shiner, Krueger drilled her 10th kill of the match to put the Warriors on the brink.

Then, Kruger teamed up with Taylor Distelberg for a match-ending block of Menlo’s Katharine Mumm, giving Westmont a 25-23 win, and 3-1 match victory.

“Our blocking got better as the match went on,” shared McGolpin. “Menlo was a super athletic team. Coach Sarah reminded the team that we’re also talented and athletic, and that we just had to stick with it on the blocking and on the defensive end.

“We stuck to our bread and butter with our serving and passing, and we stepped it up on the defensive side when we needed to most.”

At the end of the match, Minch led the Warriors with 13 kills while Kruger’s 10 were second-best on the night. Both Minch and Shiner also led the Warriors with three service aces each, with Shiner also contributing with 17 assists.

Kistner led the Warriors with 24 assists, while libero Kaili Hashimoto led Westmont with 20 digs. In the back row, Illyssa Ocampo also contributed with 13 digs, several of which were momentum-swinging plays.

Malone, who recorded eight kills, led Westmont with three blocks, while Krueger and Distelberg each picked up two of their own.

“What was solid for us, was our serving and passing,” noted McGolpin. “Ilyssa Ocampo and Kaili Hashimoto were both amazing on the defensive end. Ilyssa had some incredible saves that really set the tempo for our defense. Overall, it was a solid all-around effort to get the job done tonight.”

Westmont concludes the regular season on Saturday in Rocklin, when they take on William Jessup at 2:00 p.m. Links to live coverage for the regular season finale will be available on the Westmont Athletics website.