Fulton, Mo. – The Westminster women's volleyball team played their first home match of the young season today against the Blackburn College Beavers. The Blue Jay's got off to a slow start losing the first set but came on strong behind the strong play of Haley Menke and Natalie Needy to win the next three sets to get the win 3-1 over the Beavers. The Blue Jays improve to 2-0 overall and 2-0 in SLIAC competition.
In set number one the Blue Jays raced out to a 11-6 lead prompting a timeout from Blackburn. Blackburn responded out of the timeout and eventually would tie the game at 22. A Payton Bledsoe kill off of a Gretchen Durbala assist gave the Blue Jays a 23-22 lead. That would be all for the Jays in the first set as three straight attack errors gave the Beavers a 25-23 first set win.
Set number two saw the Blue Jays start to get things going. Westminster opened up a 12-6 lead, after a service error and four straight attack errors by Blackburn,.Blackburn called timeout. This time around the timeout didn't stop the Blue Jay momentum. Two kills from Eryka Wanyonyi and another from Bledsoe off of a bad serve receive by Blackburn helped push the Blue Jay lead to 15-8. Westminster would maintain the lead on the way to a 25-16 win to even the match 1-1.
In the third set the two teams traded points early on. With Westminster clinging to a 14-13 lead, the Jays went to work. Three Menke kills along with two Allie Kennebeck service aces helped propel Westminster on a 8-0 run that staked them to 22-13 lead where they would cruise to the 25-16 win in set three to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set started out hot for the Blue Jays. Kills by Menke and Needy helped fuel a 7-1 start to the set for the Jays. The Blue Jays held a comfortable lead through most of the fourth set. When Blackburn closed to within 22-18 it was Menke who came through with back to back kills to quiet the Beaver run and an attack error by Blackburn would end the set and the match.
The Westminster offense was led in kills by Menke with a game high 15, Needy followed with 9 and Wanyonyi with 7. Durbala had a good night setting tallying 36 assists. Kennebeck led with 2 service aces.
The defense was led once again by Erica Schrader with 13 digs and Wanyonyi with 12. The Blue Jays recorded three solo blocks by Needy, Wanyonyi and Menke.
Westminster will be in action next Wednesday February 17, 2021 when they welcome Greenville University to Historic Gym for a 7:00 p.m. first serve.