Blue Jays Victorious in Straight Sets Victory

3 - Haley Menke
3 - Haley Menke

Mt. Pleasant, Ia., March 17, 2021 – The Blue Jay women's volleyball team went on the road looking to snap a two-game losing streak. They came into Ruble Arena on the Iowa Wesleyan University campus and did just that in a three-set sweep (25-12, 26-24, 25-19). The Blue Jays improve to 9-2 overall and 9-2 in SLIAC play.  This was the final road game of the regular season for Westminster.

In the first set the Blue Jays took advantage of ten Iowa Wesleyan University errors to build a big lead.  Natalie Needy would finish off two kills off of Gretchen Durbala assists along with two IWU errors to turn a 5-5 set score to a 9-5 Blue Jay lead. It was a lead they would never give back as they would cruise to a 25-12 set one victory and take a 1-0 lead in the match.

The second set saw the IWU team come back and put up a fight.  IWU would take a 20-16 lead off of a Blue Jay service error.  The Jays would then respond by scoring five of the next six points to tie it at
21-21. The run to get back in the set included A kill and a service ace by Needy and three IWU errors.
IWU would win the next point to go back on top 22-21.  On the next point Claire Whitehouse would come through with a big solo block to tie the score again at 22-22.  The Tigers would then commit a ball handling error and the Blue Jays were back in front 23-22.  The Tigers would then win the next two points to push Westminster to the brink of losing the second set down 24-23.  The Jays would have the last run in the set as they would use an Allie Kennebeck kill and two more IWU errors to score the final three points of the set resulting in a 26-24 second set victory and a 2-0 match lead.

The third and final set would see the Blue Jays fall behind 7-5 before they mounted a 5-0 run to take the lead by a service error on IWU followed by a kill by Needy then two kills by Kennebeck and then a Haley Menke service ace to cap the run.  Iowa Wesleyan would fight back and take a lead at 14-12 lead.  The Blue Jays would then use a 5-0 run to regain the lead for good on two straight errors and a kill by Menke and would take a 17-14 lead as the teams traded points down the stretch Kennebeck would shine brightly by recording three kills that helped drive the Blue Jays to a victory 25-19 in set number three and a 3-0 sweep of the match. 

The Blue Jays attack was led by Kennebeck with nine kills, followed by six kills by Menke and 5 kills by Needy.  Gretchen Durbala led the team with assists with 19.  Claire Whitehouse came up big for the Blue Jays in her first starting assignment recording 3 kills hitting .182 and two big solo blocks!

Erica Schrader and Kennebeck both set the defense by recording ten digs each. Payton Bledsoe recorded three service aces for the Jays while Schrader added two.

The Blue Jays will return home to Historic Gym for their final two home games of the regular season.  The first of those games will be this coming Friday night against the Eureka College Red Devils.  The match on Friday is set for a 6:00 p.m. first serve.