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Westminster volleyball: Westminster upsets No. 8 Biola to close first day in California

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 29 2014 10:33 p.m. MDT

After dropping its opening match of the Asics/Wyndham Labor Day Classic to Concordia, the Westminster women’s volleyball team responded with a big upset win over No. 8 Biola in five sets to close the day.

Westminster is now 4-3 on the season, and it beat a top-10 ranked team for the first time since a 3-0 sweep of Biola on Sept. 4, 2010. It is just the Griffins 10th win all-time over a top-25 ranked team.

The Griffins hung tight with Concordia (2-1) in the opening match before falling in four sets (21-25, 20-25, 25-20, 17-25). They finished the match with 50 kills and hit .210 in the match. Westminster recorded 59 digs and six blocks in the match, while also notching three service aces.

Alyse Horton recorded her second double-double of the season after finishing with a team-high 13 kills and adding 10 digs. The junior also hit .367 in the match. Jessica Chellsen added 11 kills and four blocks, with Alexis Aalona going for 10 kills and a team-best 18 digs.

The nightcap saw the Griffins show some grit in rallying back on several occasions for the 21-25, 25-23, 14-25, 25-23, 18-16 win. Trailing 14-12 in the fifth set, Westminster dug deep to force the tie at 14-14 before forcing consecutive hitting errors from the Eagles to secure the victory.

Westminster was able to overcome a 69-51 disadvantage in kills in the match behind a season-high 14 service aces. Biola hit .303 in the match but only managed .125 in the deciding set. In contrast, the Griffins hit just .186 for the match while closing out the win by hitting .286 in the fourth and .217 in the fifth.

Aalona carried much of the load for the Griffins in posting a season-high 18 kills. The senior hit .256 in the match and added six digs and two blocks. Horton added another 12 kills and seven digs with one block and two service aces. Jaden Green posted four service aces with Megan Gallegos and Taylor Gustafson each getting three aces.

The Griffins look to continue the momentum of the win when they head into a pair of matches on Saturday. They open the day across town at 22nd-ranked Vanguard before closing the event against Westmont at the CU Arena.

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