Athlete of the Week: Weststeyn an integral part of volleyball’s incredible run
Sophomore Amy Weststeyn and Biola ride 18-game win streak into Concordia University Irvine match. | Job Ang/THE CHIMES
Sophomore Amy Weststeyn entered her freshman year like any other collegiate athlete would — wanting to make a name for herself.
The 6’3” middle blocker’s name went national last December.
The true freshman won 2011 American Volleyball Coaches Association/NAIA Freshman of the Year honors while leading the Golden State Athletic Conference in blocks and finishing second in hitting percentage.
Weststeyn adds a different dynamic to a team led by senior outside hitter Christine Douglas, and in a way sits in the shadow of the GSAC kills-per-game leader. But the Visalia native is content with her current role.
“I would want nothing less. She totally deserves it,” Weststeyn said of Douglas. “She’s such a stud.
“People will watch a game and say, ‘Oh [Douglas] is so great,’ but they have no idea how hard she works and what a great leader she is for us,” she said.
Douglas and Weststeyn lead Biola on offense
Trailing only Douglas for the team lead in kills, Weststeyn has been a force offensively, portraying a model of attacking efficiency as well as defensive production. Her .458 hitting percentage leads the entire NAIA and her 46 blocks rank her first on the team and third in the GSAC.
All of this has translated into an ongoing win streak that reaches far beyond just consecutive wins. The last time women’s volleyball lost a set was Sept. 1 against Lee University of Tennessee, who was ranked No. 3 in the NAIA at the time.
“Maybe it’s because we’re too scared to go to a fourth set,” Weststeyn joked.
In total, the current 18-game win streak includes just two four-set matches, one against the above-mentioned Lee and the other with the University of California, Merced. The rest have been dominant 3-0 shutouts, and Weststeyn sees a vital difference in this year’s team that is making this dominance possible.
“If we were to get significantly behind in a game, it would’ve been really hard last year to come back,” Weststeyn said. “But this year, I don’t think I’ve ever been worried. We could be down by eight or nine points and none of us think the game is out of reach. That resiliency and that fight to come back is something that is very unique to our team this year.
“Get in, get out, get it done, don’t mess around,” she said.
Match against No. 3 Concordia on Saturday
Looming on the horizon is a daunting matchup with still-undefeated Concordia University Irvine, a date that Weststeyn says could not come any sooner.
“It’s just one of those things where we want it so badly,” she said.
Weststeyn noted another coveted matchup, last Saturday’s home game against Westmont College, that weighed heavily on the team’s mind. The fifth-ranked Warriors came to Biola having taken Concordia to a fifth set a week earlier, but a Weststeyn-led squad shut down Westmont 3-0 for the team’s eighth consecutive shutout.
Weststeyn led the team with 12 kills in Saturday’s victory.
“For us right now, we’re just excited to go out and make a statement playing a good team like that,” Weststeyn said, “but you can’t help but think of Concordia all the time.”
As an underclassman, Weststeyn cherishes the senior leadership displayed by Douglas and others, and looks forward the opportunity to provide that same leadership in the coming years.
“I’m definitely taking notes for two years when I’m a senior,” Weststeyn said.