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Warriors drop 5-set marathon to San Diego Christian

By Brandon Petersen, 08/21/19, 10:15AM PDT

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Down 14-10 and on the brink of its first loss of the season, the Westcliff University women’s volleyball team pulled off the improbable Tuesday night, clawing all the way back to force two tiebreakers before eventually falling to San Diego Christian College, 22-25, 25-21, 25-18, 19-25, 15-17.

It was a night to focus on the positives after a marathon contest that could have gone either way in the final moments. Westcliff (1-1) suffered its first loss of the season.

“I was really happy with the way the girls played together,” Westcliff head coach Derrick Trent said. “Even when we were down, they never gave up. They kept pushing. They kept fighting for each other.”

Indeed. Westcliff is a close-knit group and even when the odds were stacked against them in the decisive fifth game, the Warriors never ceded an inch.

Outside hitter Amanda Gross (team-high 14 kills) stepped to the line and served the Warriors back into the contest before eventually knotting the game at 14 apiece with a monster finish.

“(Gross) led us there at the end,” Trent said. “She stepped up and decided to playing a little harder, which was nice, it helped us there toward the end.”

Trent also credited his back row players for coming up big in the clutch all night long.

“Our passers played amazing,” he said. “That right there is what saved us for the majority of the match.”

San Diego Christian surprised Westcliff with a strong first set before the Warriors flexed their muscle in sets two and three.

The Warriors started off the fourth set on fire, but a lull in the energy level allowed San Diego Christian to claw back and take the fourth, before a back-and-fourth fifth decided it.

“We dealt with some adversity and we handled it well,” Trent said. “Overall, it was a good night. It opened up some tendencies we need to work on. That helps for when we get in the gym, we can clean some of those things up, and get better moving forward.”

Sarah Roach finished with 10 kills, Carly Hill and Leah Price had seven kills each, and Aliza Atkins finished off six.

Setter Tiana Gildernew was fantastic in the middle, racking up 32 assists.

Westcliff heads out on the road today for a match with Masters University in Santa Clarita. First serve is at 5 pm.

To contact Brandon Petersen, e-mail brandonpetersen@westcliff.edu.