SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Freshman Chelsea Daley paced the NAIA’s No. 9-ranked Azusa Pacific with a match-high 18 kills, and sophomore Jill Baker added 13 kills and 17 digs to lead the Cougars to a 30-20, 27-30, 30-24, 30-21 win over Westmont Saturday afternoon in Santa Barbara.
The double-double was Baker’s eighth in a row and her 11th in 14 matches so far this season, and it was the fifth match in which Daley led the Cougars in kills. Senior libero Alison Pattison turned in her second standout defensive performance in 3 days, recording a match-high 32 digs for the Cougars.
Trailing 13-11 in the first game, Azusa Pacific middle blocker Tara Chambers registered back-to-back kills to spark a 5-point run, and the Cougars finished the opening game on a 19-7 run to take a 1-0 advantage in the match.
Neither team led by more than 3 points in a second game that featured 15 ties and 7 lead changes, but Westmont used a 4-point run to turn a 23-22 deficit into a 26-23 advantage, and the Warriors held off the Cougars for the 30-27 win to even the match.
The Cougars used an 8-2 run, capped by a Chambers solo block, to turn a 14-10 third-game lead into a commanding 10-point advantage at 22-12, and Chambers finished off the game with a kill for a 30-24 win.
Westmont led game four at 8-7, but Chambers recorded 2 more blocks in a 3-point run that gave Azusa Pacific the lead for good at 10-8. After trading points to 12-10, Baker sparked another 4-point run with back-to-back kills, and the Cougars led by at least 4 points the rest of the way in a 30-21 win that sealed the match victory.
Chambers finished with a season-high 10 kills in 20 attempts, adding 5 blocks. Junior Kelsey Knudsen added a team-high 6 blocks for the Cougars, while junior setter Allison Kincheloe finished with 16 digs, 5 blocks and 50 assists.
Westmont was led by Alison Sharp, who finished with 17 kills and 12 digs. Warriors libero Malinda Reese matched Pattison’s defensive performance, tallying 32 digs.
With the victory, Azusa Pacific improves to 10-4 on the season, 3-3 in Golden State Athletic Conference play. All 3 of the Cougars’ conference defeats have been grueling 5-game efforts against the NAIA’s 3 highest-ranked teams. Westmont drops to 7-8 overall, 0-6 in conference play.
The Cougars resume GSAC play next week when they host unranked San Diego Christian on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.