Fulton, MO, 10/5/21 – The Westminster College Blue Jay volleyball team came into Tuesday nights SLIAC showdown against the Webster University Gorloks riding the momentum of a five-game winning streak. A raucous Historic Gym crowd adorned in white for a whiteout theme helped to push the team to an exhilarating and hard fought 3-1 (27-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-21) conference victory. The win pushes the Blue Jay winning streak to six games and improves the Blue Jays record to 8-9 overall and 4-1 in conference. The Gorloks fall to 7-9 and 3-3 in the SLIAC.
The Blue Jays got off to a rocky start in the first set. They would trail 20-15 thanks in large part to ten attack errors and five service errors. Things did not look good for the Blue Jays. Two more Blue Jay service errors made the score 22-17 in favor of the Gorloks. That's when things started to change. Senior Erica Schrader (Imperial, MO / St. Pius X) would serve seven straight points for the Blue Jays. Two kills each by Sophomore Emma Geier (Versailles, Mo. / Morgan County R-2) and junior Haley Menke (O'Fallon, MO / Fort Zumwalt West) along with a Schrader ace helped turn the tide for the Jays as they took a 24-22 lead. The Gorloks would fight back and tie the game at 25-25. A Menke kill and an Eryka Wanyony (Columbia, MO / Hickman) kill would slam the door shut on Gorloks and the first set 27-25.
The second set saw the Blue Jays get off to a better start. A Sophie Reimer (St. Charles, MIO / Lutheran) service ace staked the Blue Jays to a 7-4 lead. Later in the set a junior Payton Bledsoe (Mexico, MO / Mexico) kill would put the Jays up 18-14. Another kill by Menke and a kill by senior Claire Whitehouse (St. Louis, MO / Parkway Central) helped the Blue Jays stay just ahead of the Gorloks. The Gorloks would close as close as 24-23 before a Whitehouse kill would end the set 25-23 and give the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead.
The Gorloks and their veteran head coach Mary Graf had no intention of going quietly without a fight. The Gorloks battled back in set number three. They would take a commanding 18-10 lead and would cruise to a 25-17 third set victory to force a fourth set. The Gorloks hit a match high .333 during the set to extend the match.
The fourth set saw the Blue Jays take the lead at 2-1 on another Menke kill and they would never trail in the set again. The Blue Jays maintained a lead throughout but the Gorloks were never far behind. It would take a Wanyonyi kill to close out the fourth set 25-21 and the match 3-1.
Menke would lead the Blue Jay offense with a powerful 19 kills while hitting a sizzling .357. Wanyonyi followed with 15 kills, Geier with nine kills and Whitehouse with seven. Setter Gretchen Durbala (Burlington, IA / Burlington) would once again lead the Jays with 46 assists. Durbala would lead the Blue Jay defense as well with 14 digs followed closely by Erica Schrader with 13. Menke and Bledsoe would each record a solo block and three total blocks on the night. Kate Rable (Saint Peters, Mo. / Fort Zumwalt South) and Reimer each had two service aces to lead the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays will be back in action on Friday night on the road at Eureka College. The first serve is set for 6:00 p.m. as the Blue Jays will be looking for their seventh straight win.