IRVINE, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 16-ranked Azusa Pacific suffered a 25-11, 25-17, 25-21 sweep to No. 3-ranked Concordia Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars were held to season-lows in kills (27), attack percentage (.047) and team blocks (1.0), and its 23 attack errors were a season-high, as well. Only 3 Azusa Pacific players registered more kills than attack errors, and only 1 of that trio had more than 3 kills.
After taking what would turn out to be its only lead of the match at 4-3 in the opening set on the first of junior outside hitter Jill Baker’s team-high 8 kills, Azusa Pacific gave up an 8-point run to Concordia to fall behind, 11-4. Later in the set, a 10-3 run gave the Eagles a commanding 23-9 lead before a pair of Baker kills gave the Cougars their only other points in a 25-11 opening-set defeat.
After the teams traded 3-point runs to start the second set, Concordia scored 5 points on Azusa Pacific attack errors in a 7-point run that put the Cougars in a 10-3 hole. Concordia led by at least 5 points the rest of the set in a 25-17 win.
Despite giving up 5 straight points to start the third set, Azusa Pacific pulled to within 3 points at 12-9, but Concordia scored 8 of the next 11 points for a 20-12 advantage. The Cougars responded with a 9-3 run to pull within 2 points at 23-21, but Traci Weamer’s match-high eighth kill and subsequent Jenna Salo ace finished off the match with a 25-21 third-set in favor of Concordia.
In addition to her 8 kills, Baker added a team-high 8 digs, while freshman libero Robin Portela added 7 digs and a match-high 2 aces. The Cougars did manage to shore up a serving game that had committed 10 or more errors in 3 of their past 4 matches, serving 5 aces against just 5 errors.
The loss drops Azusa Pacific back to .500 in Golden State Athletic Conference play at 2-2, and the Cougars are now 12-4 overall on the season. Concordia improves to 3-1 GSAC, 14-1 overall. The challenging conference schedule doesn’t drop off for Azusa Pacific, with a visit to No. 2-ranked California Baptist up next for the Cougars on Thursday, Sept. 25.