Women’s Volleyball bumps themselves to the top

Sheila Samson


Through many hard-fought games, the Whittier College Women’s Volleyball team is set to leave for Southwestern (TX) to compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III West Regionals. 

The women’s team played for first place against Claremont Mudd-Scripps and fell short along with La Verne, placing fifth overall in conference. However, the team finished with a 10-6 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) record and 18-9 overall on the season. They were given a bid Monday morning in which they will go up against the host, Southwestern (TX) Friday, Nov. 10 at 8:00 p.m. 

As this is his fourth year as head coach, Chris Duarte-McDermott is excited for his team to compete in the NCAA tournament. “It’s something I’ve been working towards since I got the job,” said McDermott. “The best part is that the girls are being rewarded for their hard work.” 

McDermott’s last season was in the same position as this years team, but that only meant for higher expectations. “The way we missed the season, it only adds fuel to the fire,” said McDermott. “[The team] only has the desire to represent our conference.” 

One of the captains, second-year setter  Camryn Purdom, was more than proud of her team to be advancing. “I know that the work we put in this season is paying off, but we aren’t satisfied,” said Purdom. “We’re just getting started.”

Players agree on the setter’s position via hand signals. 

Players agree on the setter’s position via hand signals. 

Another captain of the team; fourth-year middle Alexis Mills, shared the same excitement as Purdom when she discovered the bid. Finishing up their collegiate career as a SCIAC all-sportsmanship team, Mills believes that her team is ready for the next level. “It’s such an honor to be one of 64 teams out of 433 in the [United States] to get this opportunity,” said Mills. “This is probably going to be one of the toughest weekends of volleyball any of us have ever played. All we want to do is play the best volleyball we can, play a clean game, and the game will take care of itself.”

During the season, Purdom, Mills, and two of their teammates third-year outsider Makenzie Thieme and first-year outsider Ashley Whittall were named SCIAC Athlete of the Week. 

When asked how she felt about the team’s bid, first-year Track and Fielder Hannah Wright gave yet another positive perspective. Wright, being a member of the Whittier College Sports Network (WCSN), broadcasted a majority of the women’s games and was one of the many fans who have watched the team from start to finish.

“This group of women has immense talent and has left me speechless multiple times while broadcasting some of those exciting five set nail-biters,” said Wright. “These hard working ladies have well deserved their spot in the NCAA Regional Tournaments and I’m very excited for them, and wish them the best of luck in the tournament.” 

The winner of Friday’s Whittier vs Southwestern (TX) match will take on the winner of Claremont-M-S and UT-Dallas in the Regional Championship match set for this Sunday afternoon. “We want to prove to everyone that Whittier volleyball is a force to be reckoned with,” said Purdom.