HELENA, Mont. -- The NAIA’s No. 5-ranked Azusa Pacific improved to 10-2 on the season with 4 3-set sweeps at University of Great Falls (Mont.) and Carroll College (Mont.) Friday and Saturday at the Holiday Inn Classic.
Junior outside hitter Jill Baker paced the offense with 59 kills, nearly 5 per set, 3 different Cougars recorded at least 7 aces in 2 days of action. Four more players tallied 30-plus digs in the tournament, while a different 4 registered at least 7 blocks.
Golden State Athletic Conference play opens this week, with Azusa Pacific hosting defending NAIA champion Fresno Pacific in the conference opener on Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Felix Event Center.
Friday, September 5
Azusa Pacific d. Rocky Mountain (Mont.), 3-0 (25-12, 25-14, 25-14)
Baker tallied match-highs of 9 kills and 18 digs, and freshman middle blocker Ariel Beetstra posted a match-high 8 blocks to lead Azusa Pacific to the tournament-opening sweep over Rocky Mountain. The Cougars recorded season-highs of 12 aces and 13 blocks in the victory. Senior right side hitter Megan Burch and freshman middle blocker Amy Alkazin each added 6 kills without an error.
Azusa Pacific d. Great Falls (Mont.), 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-22)
Baker posted a match-high 17 kills, and she and freshman libero Robin Portela each recorded a team-high 13 digs. Sophomore outside hitter Chelsea Daley added 9 kills, helping Azusa Pacific avenge the 3-set sweep it suffered to Great Falls 2 weeks prior at the Cougar Classic.
Saturday, September 6
Azusa Pacific d. Montana Tech, 3-0 (25-19, 25-11, 25-15)
Baker and Daley combined for 22 kills, committing just 4 errors in 48 attempts, and Alkazin added 8 kills in 11 attempts in an easy sweep over Montana Tech. Portela and Baker led the way defensively with 11 digs each, and senior setter Allison Kincheloe served a match-high 3 of the Cougars’ aces in the victory.
Azusa Pacific d. Carroll (Mont.), 3-0 (29-27, 25-23, 25-18)
Baker notched her second 20-kill performance of the season, finishing with 20 kills on 48 attempts, and Burch and Alkazin added 8 kills apiece in Azusa Pacific’s closest match of the tournament. Kincheloe matched a season-high with 12 digs, and Alkazin served a match-high 4 aces in the victory.