LA MIRADA, Calif. --- No. 4 Biola played a nearly-perfect match in its highly-anticipated showdown against No. 5 Westmont on Saturday night, cruising to a 25-15, 25-16, 25-20 win in a GSAC match between NAIA Top 10 teams.
The Eagles pick up their 17th-straight win to improve to 18-1 and stay a perfect 5-0 in GSAC play. The Warriors suffer their second-straight road loss, dropping to 17-4 and to 2-3 in the conference.
The match served as a bit of revenge for Biola which suffered a pair of five-set, upset losses at the hands of Westmont last season--the Warriors' first season sweep of the Eagles since 1999.
Weststeyn had a banner day, recording 12 kills and adding five blocks including three solo. Fellow middle blocker Chelsee Arnitz added 11 kills and posted a .529 attack percentage to the Biola attack.
Biola got off to a strong start in the first set, using a 7-1 run to turn an slight 8-7 lead into a 15-8 edge midway through the set. The Eagles closed out the set on a 7-3 run to win 25-15 and take a 1-0 lead in the match.
In the second set, the teams went back and forth through the start of the set with Westmont using a short run to go up 11-8. Biola answered back with a 5-1 run to take back the lead at 13-12. After the teams exchanged points, they battled through an incredibly long rally with both teams making amazing plays on defense. However, Nicolette Mather finally split the defense with a cross-court slam to put Biola up 15-13.
That rally may have changed the entire complexion of the set with that point helping the Eagles close out the set on an 11-3 run to cruise to a 25-16 win.
Westmont opened the third set strong, scoring five of the first six points to force an early timeout by the Eagles. Out of the timeout, Weststeyn ended the run with back-to-back kills, keying a long 11-3 run to put Biola back on top. Westmont closed to within one on a pair of occasions later in the set, but Biola had the answer each time, slowly pulling away for a 25-20 win.
Biola, which ranks fourth in the NAIA in attack percentage, posted a .364 mark on Saturday, committing just 10 attack errors while recording 49 kills. The Eagles held Westmont to a .119 attack percentage and recorded eight blocks including a season-high six solo.
Madison Serrano led Westmont with 11 kills and Nichole Miller came off the bench to provide a spark in the third set, recording six kills in eight attacks over the final set.
Biola also added 51 digs including 14 from junior Tara Rallis and 11 from sophomore Charley Parker. Junior setter Gracee Gallarda recorded 42 assists, two blocks, two kills and five digs for the Eagles. Gallarda is now just two assists shy of 2,000 in her career.
The Eagles return to action on Tuesday, traveling to El Cajon to battle San Diego Christian College in a GSAC match at 7:00 p.m.