One night after suffering a five set loss to Fontbonne University the Spalding University volleyball team responded on Saturday with their biggest win of the 2016 season so far, handing Westminster College their first conference loss of the year. Spalding dropped the opening set in the SLIAC Game of the Week against Westminster but followed by taking the next three sets for a 3-1 win; snapping Westminster's 12 match winning streak.
Westminster started the day with four straight points and opened up a 10-3 lead in the first set before cruising to a 25-18 win. The Blue Jays hit .375 in the first set, with 15 kills and just three errors, but they would find the attack tough going the rest of the match; failing to hit above .091 in any of the final three sets. Conversely Spalding, who hit just .057 in the opening set, hit above .306 as a team in the final three sets to propel them to victory.
In the second set the two teams traded points with neither team holding more than a two point edge until Spalding was able to take a 14-11 lead. The Golden Eagles held a 21-18 lead but saw the Blue Jays go on a 4-1 run, highlighted by back to back kills from Nikki Testerman and Hannah Marshall and an ace from Marshall. After an attack error by Spalding the Blue Jays held a 23-22 lead with serve but Golden Eagle Jessica Diehl evened the score up with a kill. The Golden Eagles took the lead back on the next rally as Alyssa Cosgrove and Michaela Walker stuffed an attack attempt for a block. Spalding evened the match up when Westminster committed an attack error.
Spalding carried that momentum into the next set when they jumped out to an early 6-3 lead. Westminster closed the score to 8-5 but were unable to get any closer as the Golden Eagles rolled off a 12-3 run, taking a 20-8 lead. Victorie Heitzman closed out the third set with a kill to give Spalding a 25-18 win and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Westminster jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the fourth set before the Golden Eagles were sparked once again by their net defense. Cosgrove and Diehl teamed up for a block to start the rally for the Golden Eagles and on the next point Diehl again denied the Blue Jays with a block, this time on a solo block. Spalding would extend their lead to 7-3 and were able to hold that lead for the majority of the remainder of the set.
Spalding hit .269 as a team in the match, their second highest percentage this season, with 44 kills and just nine errors. As good as the Spalding offensive attack was in the match it was once again their net defense that was a prominent factor in the win. Spalding, who leads the SLIAC in total blocks this season, recorded 10.5 total blocks, marking the third time this season they have reached double digits in blocks in a match. Jessica Diehl was nearly unstoppable in the match hitting .682 with 15 kills and five blocks while Victoria Heitzman added 15 kills and eight digs. Katelyn Cosgrove finished with 37 assists and a team high 17 digs. Spalding improves to 11-7 overall and 5-3 in the SLIAC.
Westminster hit .140 as a team with Hannah Marshall leading the way with 15 kills. Ashley Kistaitis, 12 kills, and Nikki Testerman, 11 kills, also reached double digits. Kayla Reeg finished with 41 assists and 10 digs while Bridget Ringwald led all players with 23 digs. Westmisnter falls to 13-4 overall and 9-1 in the SLIAC.
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