It’s been an impressive four matches for senior Kalie Lyle this weekend in Salt Lake City, as she finished the week by being named to the Westminster Invitational All-Tournament Team. The Western New Mexico University volleyball team nearly got over the hump during the first match Saturday against Malone, but dropped a tough five set match (19-25, 25-15, 25-21, 22-25, 11-15). To conclude the tournament, the Lady Mustangs fell to West Alabama 3-0 (10-25, 21-25, 19-25).
Lyle put together her best match of the weekend against Malone as she ripped off 28 kills and hit .354 to help WNMU post a .265 hitting percentage. Senior Alanna Watt added 12 kills and hit .281. Sophomores Cristal Carrizoza with 29 assists and Sophia Mitchell with 22 set the table. On defense, senior Ashley Mataele recorded 18 digs and sophomore Hannah Tishlarich sent back four blocks.
All totaled for the four matches, Lyle ended up with 62 kills to land on the All-Tournament squad. She also added three assists, a service ace, 19 digs and three blocks.
Malone (6-1) moved out to a quick 7-3 lead in the first set. WNMU (0-8) began to work their way back in as a kill by Lyle and then an attack error tied the set at 11. Just when it seemed the Lady Mustangs were back in the set, Malone pulled away and after WNMU got back to within one at 15-14, Malone closed the set on a 10-5 run for the 25-19 set win.
The second set had a totally different feel to it. WNMU busted things open early with Lyle posting four straight kills to turn a one-point lead into a five-point spread at 9-4. Malone was never really ever to gain traction in the set, as the lead moved to seven at 13-6 on an attack error. The lead moved to 10 at 21-11 on a double-block by Tishlarich and freshman Sarai Migao. After a mini run by Malone, sophomore Kali Iago sealed the set with three straight kills for the 25-15 set win to even the match at one.
Malone came out ready in the third frame, moving in front 12-7. Out of a WNMU timeout, the Lady Mustangs responded with Lyle posting three kills and after a service ace by Carrizoza, junior Aspen Luna recorded a solo block to tie the set at 12. WNMU made one more run late in the set as Lyle again got loose for a few more kills and around a few attack errors, the set was tied for the last time at 21. Out of a Malone timeout, WNMU kept things rolling with a kill by Luna to break the tie and push the Lady Mustangs to the set win. Carrizoza added a service ace and after another Luna kill, Iago tallied a solo block for the 25-21 third set win and 2-1 match lead. WNMU ended up closing the match on a 6-0 run.
The fourth set was back-and-forth until Malone put together a little run to move in front 14-10. WNMU kept chipping away and came back to eventually tie the set again, this time at 20 on an attack error. After that, it was all Malone as they posted five of the next seven points for the 25-22 set win to even the match at two.
Malone rode the momentum into the last set, taking an early 3-2 lead after Migao posted a kill, to move in front 12-5. WNMU tried to get back into it with points from Luna, Watt and Tishlarich, but Malone held on to take the set at 15-11 and the match at 3-2.
Malone was led by 17 kills from Mallory Adams and 16 from Veronica Gehring. Adams also had a big defensive game with eight blocks, including three solo.
The second match of the day went early to West Alabama and they didn’t look back in takng the 3-0 sweep. Watt led the offense with eight kills, while senior Kelli McGhiey recorded five. Carrizoza and Mitchell each had 10 assists, while on defense Watt led in digs with 13.
West Alabama (3-5) came out firing in the opening set as they jumped out to a 7-1 lead. WNMU got back to within five on the next point on a service error, but they wouldn’t get any closer after that as West Alabama expanded the lead to 14-2 on their way to taking the set at 25-10.
West Alabama kept things rolling early on in the second set as they moved out to a 6-1 lead. WNMU regrouped and started to work their way back into the set with points from McGhiey, Iago, junior Kijana Best and Luna to know things at 10. The Lady Mustangs kept the run going moving out to a 12-10 lead with a kill by Watt. The lead was at four at 19-15 on another kill by Watt. Just when it seemed WNMU was in good shape, West Alabama came rolling back to eventually even the set at 21. The run didn’t stop after a WNMU timeout, as they tacked on four more points to take the set at 25-21 and move to a 2-0 match lead. West Alabama closed the set on an 8-0 run.
The Lady Mustangs responded to start the third set posting three straight points with kills by Watt and Migao. West Alabama came back to rip off the next four points and then the teams would go back-and-forth keeping the set close until 14-all. After Lyle even the set at 14, West Alabama took off and never looked back. They went on a 4-0 run and after the Lady Mustangs trimmed the deficit back to three, West Alabama capped the set on a 6-3 run for the 25-19 set win and 3-0 match victory.
West Alabama hit .313 for the match as Briana Sandifer collected 13 kills and hit .423. Taylor Denato added six blocks, with one coming solo. West Alabama held a 10-1 advantage on blocks.
WNMU will open the Lone Star Conference portion of their schedule this coming Tuesday when they will host in-state rival Eastern New Mexico starting at 6 p.m.