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Westminster volleyball: four in double figures as Griffins win home opener

SHARE Westminster volleyball: four in double figures as Griffins win home opener

After spending the first four weeks of the season on the road, the Westminster women’s volleyball team played at home for the first time of the season Friday night and came away with a four-set win over Montana Western in Frontier Conference action.

Westminster (7-9, 1-2 Frontier) used the emotion of a boisterous crowd to take the 25-17, 21-25, 26-24, 25-21 victory for its first conference win of the year.

“To be able to play at home and defend our home court is important,” head coach Al Givens said after picking up his first conference win as the coach of the Griffins.

The Griffins took the opening set behind a balanced hitting attack that saw five players record multiple kills. They finished the frame hitting .167 with 14 kills. Westminster also limited Montana Western (5-7, 0-3) to only eight kills in the set and .000 hitting thanks to four Griffin blocks.

Western took the second set despite the Griffins getting 14 kills and hitting .353. UMW used six kills by Emily Erickson and four more from Joanna Avery in the set to overcome four kills from the Griffins Amara Culpepper and three Westminster blocks. The visitors hit .314 in the set and had 17 digs and three service aces.

Culpepper remained hot in the third set notching a kill on all three of her swings and also recording another block. Alyse Horton and Jessica Chellsen also had three kills in the set, and they used 19 digs, two blocks and two Jaden Green service aces to sneak out of the crucial set.

The fourth set belonged to Alexis Aalona as the senior collected eight kills and hit .438. She got support from Chellsen who added five kills and hit .556 in the set, and the Griffins also notched 24 digs and two blocks to seal the victory.

“Western is scrappy and they continued to battle,” Givens said of the opponent. “We gave them a reason to fight and they took advantage of it.”

Aalona finished the match with a team-high 16 kills and hitting .244. She also totaled 18 digs, four blocks and one ace from her outside hitter position. Chellsen added 12 kills and three blocks to her .370 hitting. Culpepper and Horton had 10 kills apiece with Culpepper getting six blocks, and Horton adding 10 digs.

“It was nice to see Alexis get in a rhythm and once she got going it opened up things for Jessica,” Givens said of his hitters.

Westminster finished the night with a 58-53 edge in kills and hit .222 to just .138 from Western. The Griffins also had 82 digs, 11 blocks and service aces.

Erickson led the Bulldogs with 16 kills, while Brea Mitchell added 11 and Avery posted 10. Kendra Mendicino had a match-high 23 digs, and the team finished with 84 digs on the night.

The Griffins remain at home next week for a pair of Frontier Conference matches. The first comes against defending conference champion Montana State-Northern on Thursday at 7 p.m. MT, in the Behnken Field House.