FULTON, Mo. - Westminster volleyball fell in a five-set marathon match to Principia, marking the team's first loss in conference play.
With the loss, the Blue Jays fall to 5-8 on the year and 4-1 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Play. Principia improves to 3-1 in the conference and 10-2 overall.
"We were lacking in consistency tonight," said Westminster Head Coach Natalia Koryzna. "Our serve receive and defense was really good tonight, but we struggled offensively.
Westminster fell in the first two sets by over 10 points apiece, but rallied and came back in the last two to force a fifth set.
The Blue Jays posted a negative hitting percentage in the first two sets to attribute to the early losses, but strong performances from the team's returners Ashley Kistaitis, Hannah Marshall, and Elizabeth Kelley kept Westminster in the game.
In the fifth set, Principia earned the first three points before Westminster came back to even the score at four points apiece. The Panthers held on to a three-point lead halfway into the set, but an ace from Marshall gave Westminster it's first lead of the set at 10-9. A kill from Allie Kennebeck put the Blue Jays at their best chance to win with a score of 12-10, but Principia scored four straight points to give them the lead and the eventual win on an attack error from Westminster.
"We played hard in the fifth, but we needed to be more aggressive in the last few points to finish with a win," said Koryzna.
Kistaitis led the team with 10 kills followed by Kelley with nine and Marshall with seven. Five Blue Jays posted double-digits in digs, including Kistaitis, Marshall, Kennebeck, Bridget Ringwald, and Teresa Becker.
The Blue Jays take the weekend off and return home to face Blackburn next Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.