IRVINE, Calif. -- Outside hitters Jill Baker and Chelsea Daley combined for 24 kills in each of Azusa Pacific’s matches Friday at the Crowne Plaza Labor Day Invitational at Concordia University, a 3-set morning defeat to the NAIA’s No. 11-ranked Georgetown (Ky.) followed by a 3-set sweep over Savannah (Ga.) College of Art & Design in the evening match. The pair accounted for 110 of the No. 5-ranked Cougars’ 174 attacks on the day.
Baker tallied a match-high 14 kills and registered 10 digs in the 27-25, 25-20, 25-22 loss to Georgetown, with Daley adding 10 kills. In the 25-18, 25-21, 25-21 sweep over Savannah College of Art & Design, Daley led the way with 13 kills, and Baker turned in an 11-kill, 6-dig effort.
Freshman middle blocker Amy Alkazin registered 3 blocks in each match, and she posted a .381 hitting percentage with 11 kills in 21 attempts on the day.
A Baker kill in the opening set against Georgetown gave Azusa Pacific set point at 24-23, but Georgetown’s Alexandra Bertke registered back-to-back kills to swing the momentum back to the Tigers. Another Baker kill evened the set at 25-25, but back-to-back Cougar attack errors handed Georgetown the first set.
After trailing for most of the second set, Azusa Pacific took the lead 4 times until a 20-20 tie, at which point the Tigers reeled off 5 straight points on 3 kills and a pair of service aces to pick up the set. After a 5-point third-set run gave the Cougars a 17-16 lead, Georgetown responded to win 6 of the next 7 points for a 22-18 lead and hold on for the match-clinching 25-22 set victory.
Alkazin and Daley combined for a block to break a 17-17 tie in the opening set against Savannah College of Art & Design, part of a 9-1 run to close out a 25-18 opening-set victory. Alkazin had a solo block that gave the Cougars a set point at 24-18 before a Bees ball handling error gave Azusa Pacific the one-set advantage.
An Alkazin kill opened up a 6-point lead at 14-8 in the second set, the Cougars’ largest of the period, and Azusa Pacific maintained at least a 2-point cushion the rest of the way in a 25-21 second-set win. Back-to-back Baker kills sparked a 12-3 run that turned a tight 5-4 third set into a commanding 16-7 margin. Savannah College of Art & Design twice closed to within 3 points at 23-20 and 24-21, but senior right side hitter Megan Burch put the match away with her only kill of the contest for the 25-21 win.
Azusa Pacific is now 4-2 on the season, and the Cougars continue action at the Crowne Plaza Labor Day Invitational Saturday, taking on College of Saint Mary (Neb.) at 1 p.m., followed by a 5 p.m. contest with Jamestown (N.D.).