After returning from their Arizona road trip on Sunday, Westmont Volleyball (9-3, 3-1 GSAC) returned to the court quickly on Tuesday night in Fullerton, where they began a string of three matches in five days. The Warriors began the long week with a decisive win over Hope International (3-10, 2-3) in three sets.
The Warriors opened the night with a pair of 25-16 victories, before out-lasting the Royals in the final set to clinch the win.
“It was nice to get back in the win column after Saturday,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “Sweeps are hard to come by, and I felt like those first two sets were a bit of a statement from us. We definitely needed that win.”
In the first set, the two sides traded the first 19 points of the match, giving Westmont a 10-9 lead into double-digits. Then, the Warriors set the evening’s tone with a 8-0 run to take an 18-9 advantage. During the run, Phoebe Minch collected a trio of kills, Ashley Boswell added in a pair of her own, and Keelyn Kistner also collected a pair of service aces.
The Royals called both their timeouts during the run, with neither of the stoppages doing much to stop the Warriors’ momentum. After a brief run from the Royals at the end of the set, Kistner’s fourth ace of the game gave the Warriors a 25-16 win to open the night.
The second set featured another game-changing run, this time after the Royals took an 8-6 advantage. Boswell’s fifth kill opened up an 8-0 run that ended with one of the Warriors’ six blocks of the set. After taking a 14-8 lead, the Warriors saw their lead slightly shrink when the Royals cut it to 18-14.
However, Westmont responded with another 5-0 to lead 23-13. Moments later, a Royals’ service error gave the Warriors another 25-16 win.
In the third set, Westmont was unable to sprint past Hope International like in the first pair of games. Instead, the Warriors were forced to play from behind, as they trailed the Royals by as many as six going into a timeout.
Down 15-9, the Warriors went on an 8-1 run to take a 17-16 lead, capped off by a kill from Taylor Distelberg. From there, two sides kept within a pair of one-another for the rest of the game. Eventually, the two sides entered a 23-23 tie.
Then, consecutive blocks from Boswell and Lexi Malone brought an end to the evening, with the Warriors capping off the sweep with a 25-23 win.
Individually, Minch led the Warriors with 16 kills, while also leading the team with 21 digs. At the net, Boswell not only collected nine kills, but also added in six blocks. Malone led the Warriors with seven total blocks, while Distelberg and Sara Krueger added a pair of their own.
“Our blocking came on strong again,” said McGolpin. “We only out-blocked them by two, but our blocks came at great times as well. Phoebe did really well tonight. Defensively she’s consistent and offensively, she got back on track tonight.
“Ashley Boswell too, on top of her great blocking, was great on offense too. We need some offensive leaders so it was nice to get production from a handful of people tonight.”
The team’s match against Hope International capped off a three-game road trip for the Warriors, who return home for matches against William Jessup and Menlo this weekend. On Friday night, the Warriors will welcome in William Jessup (5-5, 2-2) at 7:00 p.m., before quickly turning around to host Menlo (7-5, 3-1) at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.
While the Warriors have competed in 12 matches already, Friday night will mark just the second time that Westmont will play in their home gym.
“We’ll drive home tonight and rest up tomorrow,” said McGolpin, “and then on Thursday we’ll go hard as we get ready for Friday. William Jessup and Menlo are doing pretty well, so those are going to be tough matches.
“We are happy to be going home though, I can guarantee that.”
Links to tickets and live coverage for this weekend’s matches are available on the Westmont Athletics website.