With seven ranked teams in the Golden State Athletic Conference, Westmont volleyball knows what it is like to face top-notch competition. So when No. 1-ranked Fresno Pacific made their way to Murchison Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon, the Warriors were prepared and excited for the challenge. But in the end, the Sunbirds prevailed in three sets by scores of 25-10, 26-24 and 25-22.
Three Warriors recorded nine kills each – middle blockers Katey Lowry and Sami Miller and outsider hitter Beth Widicus. Martina Gregusova led the Sunbirds with 13 kills.
Westmont fell behind 10-4 in the second set, but rallied to take a 20-19 lead on a kill by Widicus. The senior tried to give Westmont a two point advantage but was blocked by Lisa Schilling and Keke Wang, tying the set at 20-all.
Wang then provided a Sunbird kill but Miller responded with a kill that tied the game again. A service ace by Erin Dohm forced Fresno Pacific head coach Dennis Janzen to call a time out with his team down 22-21.
Back-to-back kills by the Sunbird’s Tiffany Marinos resulted in another timeout, this one called by Westmont head coach Jim Smoot. Widicus recorded a kill out of the timeout to tie the second set at 23-23, but a Westmont service error gave set point to the Sunbirds and another Westmont timeout was called.
Once again, Widicus delivered a kill out of the timeout giving Westmont a 24-24 tie. But Gregusova and Michelle Johnson produced back-to-back kills to claim the set for the Sunbirds and a 2-0 lead in the match.
The close battle continued in the third set with the lead changing hands five times over the course of the set. A kill by Miller gave Westmont a 20-19 advantage before another kill by Johnson tied the set at 20. A kill by Lowry was answered by Gregusova to knot the set at 21-all.
Fresno Pacific gained the advantage on a block by Johnson and Shilling and extended their lead to 23-21 on an attack error by Widicus. Lowry and Alison Sharp pulled the Warriors to within one with a block of Johnson. But a kill by Johnson and another block by Gregusova and Shilling brought the set and the match to an end.
Westmont will be on the road next week, playing at #7 Azusa Pacific on Tuesday and at #2 California Baptist on Saturday. Both games are scheduled to begin at seven o’clock.