SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 6-ranked Azusa Pacific suffered its first road defeat to Point Loma Nazarene since 2003, dropping a 25-20, 23-25, 25-17, 20-25, 15-9 decision to the No. 14-ranked Sea Lions Saturday night.
Over a year ago, the Cougars rallied from 2 sets down and trailing by a huge 6-point margin at 23-17 in the third set before stunning its hosts in 5 sets. This time, Azusa Pacific twice rebounded from 1-set deficits, but Christy Dueck’s school-record 16 blocks paved the way for Point Loma Nazarene’s victory, snapping a 4-match home losing streak to the Cougars. Dueck and the Sea Lions blocked 6 Azusa Pacific attacks in the final set and finished with 23.5 team blocks in the match, the most by a Cougar opponent in over 7 years.
Azusa Pacific gave up 12 of the first 16 points in the decisive fifth set before using a 5-point run to cut the lead to 12-9, but the Sea Lions registered 3 straight kills to finish off the match with a 15-9 fifth-set win. The Cougars also surrendered runs of 14-3 in the opening set, a 25-20 defeat, and 9-1 in the 25-17 third-set loss.
Point Loma Nazarene’s Zoe Beltz and Sheriess Peters combined for 36 kills with just 5 errors, converting at a combined .517 clip, and both Beltz and Peters added 10 blocks each for the Sea Lions. Sophomore outside hitter Chelsea Daley and junior outside hitter Jill Baker led Azusa Pacific’s offense and defense, each registering team-highs of 15 kills and 15 digs.
With the loss, the Cougars take a record of 21-9 overall, 11-7 GSAC into a final week of the regular season that includes a visit to No.2-ranked Biola and a home date with No. 16-ranked Vanguard. Point Loma Nazarene improves to 17-9 overall, 9-9 GSAC.