St. Louis, Mo. – The Westminster College women's volleyball team kicked off their season on the road at SLIAC foe Fontbonne University. Despite losing the first set, the Jays rebounded winning the next three in route to a hard fought four set victory (14-25, 27-25, 25-23, 25-21).
The first set saw the Blue Jays and Griffins trade points early on. An Eryka Wanyonyi kill off of a Kate Rable assist saw the Blue Jays take a 6-5 lead. Unfortunately for the Jays it was the last lead they would hold in the set. A 5-0 run gave the Griffins a 11-6 lead that would eventually lead to the Blue Jays losing the first set 14-25.
The second set saw Westminster get going. Back to back kills by Wanyonyi and Allie Kennebeck, both assisted by MacMurray College transfer Gretchen Durbala, saw the Blue Jays take a early 7-4 lead. Fontbonne would rally to tie the score at 11 all. Three straight Wanyonyi kills and a Fontbonne attack error helped stake Westminster to a 15-11 lead. Fontbonne would rally again and actually take a lead at 24-23. The Griffins were one point away from a 2-0 set lead but the Blue Jays would stand tall. It was Wanyonyi to the rescue with another kill to tie the set at 24 all. After a kill put Fontbonne a point away from winning the set again, Payton Bledsoe responded with a kill assisted by Durbala that would tie the score once again and set the stage for one of the biggest points of the night. Erica Schrader recorded a service ace to give the Blue Jays the 26-25 lead, the momentum and then eventually the next point to close out the set 27-25.
The third set was a lot like the second as the Blue Jays used a 5-0 run consisting of three attack errors by Fontbonne and kills by Wanyonyi and Bledsoe to take a 16-10 lead. The Griffins would chip away at the Blue Jay lead and eventually tie it at 22 all. It was Wanyonyi to the rescue again coming up with the big kill to allow Westminster to gain the lead back 23-22 and eventually close out the set 25-23.
The fourth set found the Blue Jays looking to close out the home team. After trading points early on, Westminster went on a 5-0 run keyed by a Haley Menke kill and back to back service aces, by none other than, Wanyonyi that helped forge a 14-9 lead. Fontbonne refused to go away quietly and eventually rallied to within a point at 22-21 but a kill by Bledsoe gave the Blue Jays a little breathing room at 23-21 and back to back attack errors sealed Fontbonne's fate, the set and the match with a 25-21 win.
Head Coach Natalia Koryzna had this to say about her teams season opening victory, "We started a little slow today. It was our first game and we were trying different lineups. Once we found what was working then the girls played more consistently." She added, "There is a lot of work to be done but I'm happy we are coming back with a win."
The Westminster attack was led by Wanyonyi with 13 kills, Menke with 10 and Bledsoe with 7. Durbala led the Blue Jays with 33 assists in her debut. The Blue Jay defense was led by Schrader's 20 digs, followed by Wanyonyi with 9. Durbala contributed 4 block assists as Westminster recorded 12 in total to control the net.
The Blue Jays (1-0, 1-0 SLIAC) are back in action on Saturday February 13th at home vs. Blackburn College (1-0, 1-0 SLIAC) in Historic Gym. The Westminster College COVID-19 Indoor Athletics Attendance Policy prohibits fans from attending. All of our Westminster College home athletic contests are streamed live on our Westminster Athletics YouTube channel, which can be found HERE.