Warriors Silence Eagles

Submitted by: Ron Smith - October 26th, 2016


Libby Dahlberg

Libby Dahlberg

Westmont hitters put on a show in La Mirada as Westmont (28-0, 13-0 GSAC) posted another sweep of a Golden State Athletic Conference opponent, defeating #19 Biola (19-9, 10-3) by scores of 25-11, 25-20, 25-14. The Warriors produced a .319 hitting percentage as a team while holding the Eagles to .057.

Nearly one year ago (361 days to be exact), Biola entered Westmont’s Murchison Gymnasium with a number one ranking to take on the then #17 Warriors. The Warriors won in four sets (25-20, 25-22, 24-26, 30-28) knocking the Eagles out of the top spot.

Tonight, Westmont took its newly minted number one ranking into Biola’s Chase Gymnasium, expecting Biola to be eager to turn the tables on the undefeated Warriors. Seeking a big crowd to enhance its home court advantage, Biola promised free pizza to the first 200 fans that showed up at the game wearing red.

But the Warriors were expecting a boisterous crowd.

“It was a good crowd, nice and loud,” said Westmont head coach Patti Cook. “We practiced with earplugs yesterday, knowing that we wouldn’t be able to hear each other tonight so we would have to talk extra loud.”

Westmont got off to a fast start. With the score tied at two in the first set, the Warriors went on an 11-1 run to take a commanding 13-3 run. Lindsay Paulo served eight times in a row to propel Westmont into the lead.

“The team was fired up at the start of the match and stayed fired up throughout the entirety of the match. We got better as the match wore on and I am very proud of that. We kept up our intensity, we kept up our desire and when they pushed back, we pushed back even harder.”

The pushback came in the second set. The Warriors held a 12-6 advantage but the Eagles battle back to pull within one at 19-18.

“Biola started to come after us on offense quite a bit more and started to get more blocks,” explained Cook. “But we remained composed. We had made a couple of errors but we just needed to pull back in and focus a bit more and we cleaned it up. Our serving stayed solid even in the pressure situations of the second set.”

After a timeout by the Warriors, Mila Maricic produced a kill to gain back the serve. An attack error by Biola was followed by a kill by Sam Neely, putting the Warriors up 22-18. A kill by Biola’s Ally Forsberg and a service ace by Tori Moons brought the Eagles back to within two points before Westmont closed out the second set with three straight points.

In the third set, Westmont turned a 7-7 scored into a 16-8 advantage with a 9-1 run to claim an insurmountable lead.

Westmont Taylor Beckman and Libby Dahlberg led the offense for the Warriors throughout the match.

“Taylor had a really good game, both in digging and in hitting,” said Cook. “Libby in transition was virtually unstoppable. That was fun to see.”

Beckman tallied 10 kills and a .500 hitting percentage. She also tallied 22 serve receptions, nine digs, four service aces and four blocks. Dahlberg totaled eight kills with a .438 hitting percentage and had four blocks.

Cook was also impressed with the play of Maricic who contributed five kills.

“Mila made some really big plays that won’t show up on the stats but that were very mature and gutsy plays,” said the coach. “When Biola’s setter went to dump, Mila was able to see that and go right up and swat the ball back. There were a couple of touches that came off the block where she took the ball. There were a couple of plays where she blocked on one side of the net, turned around and passed the ball and then went all the way to the other side of the net and blocked again. She got her hands on a lot of Biola’s hits that made it easy for our defense to dig.”

With three matches remaining in the regular season, Westmont holds a two-match lead in the GSAC standings over second-place The Master’s (19-9, 11-2). Before those two teams meet up next week in Santa Clarita, the Warriors will host Vanguard (11-18, 7-4) on Saturday night in the final home game of the season.

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