Fifth-ranked Westmont Volleyball (16-2) recorded a 3-2 win (25-23, 25-18, 10-25, 24-26, 15-7) over No. 9-ranked Cal State San Marcos (14-8) on Friday in the NAIA Volleyball Match of the Week. The Warriors were led by sophomore outside hitter Madison Serrano who tallied 17 kills and produced 25 digs and 26 serve receptions.
Cal State San Marcos was led by sophomore outside hitter Taylor DeGraaf who accumulated 19 kills and while producing a .245 attack percentage.
"We went into this match knowing that Cal State San Marcos is a good team and knowing that we had to play at an elite level to beat this team," said Westmont head coach Patti Cook.
Down 21-23 in the first set, Westmont followed three San Marcos errors with a kill by junior middle blocker Ciara Turner (15 kills, .379 attack percentage) to go up one set to none.
In the second set, the Warriors led from start to finish, fueled by Turner who recorded eight kills on 11 attempts and did not commit an error.
Facing elimination in set three, San Marcos came out strong and shut down the Warrior attack with four blocks. The Cougars' 12 kills combined with seven attack errors by the Warriors, led to a quick 25-10 score.
"That third game surprised me," said Cook. "I don't know if it was a lack of focus on our part or what happened. San Marcos made a couple of lineup switches that threw us for a loop a little bit. They changed up the game plan and we didn't respond. We were back to our old selves in the fourth match."
DeGraaf tallied six kills for the Cougars in the fourth frame while Serrano pounded down seven kill on 14 attempts. With the set tied at 23-all, a kill by Westmont's Tessa Martin (11 kills, 15 digs, 34 serve receptions) gave Westmont match-point. However, DeGraaf responded by sandwiching a Westmont error between two kills to tie the match at two sets apiece.
The fifth set belonged to the Warriors. With Serrano serving, The Warriors jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back. Westmont hit .533 in the fifth set with junior middle blocker Alexandria Wilson (8 kills, .300 attack percentage) producing three kills on four attempts.
"In the fifth set we started strong and we ended strong," said Cook. "(Senior libero) Kristen Schroeder was phenomenal tonight. She kept the ball in play so many times when we thought the play was going to end.
"(Senior setter) Candice Adema did a nice job of dishing out a really even offense," continued the coach. "(Junior opposite) Nichole Miller came up huge for us in the fourth and fifth sets, making some crucial hits and timely tips."
The Warriors are now 4-2 against teams ranked in the top-ten at the time they met.