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Fifth-Set Woes

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November 11, 2008
Gary Pine
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LA MIRADA, Calif. -- Despite the fact that his team fell in 4 sets at home to Biola last month, Azusa Pacific coach Chris Keife predicted that his team would take No. 2-ranked Biola to 5 sets when they met tonight in a rematch on the Biola campus. However, he wouldn’t go so far as to predict a win.

Good thing he played it safe.

For the second time in as many matches, Azusa Pacific was stretched to 5 sets in a showdown with a nationally-ranked opponent, and again the Cougars were victim of fifth-set woes, falling to Biola, 25-22, 22-25, 22-25, 25-23, 11-15, before a crowd of 1,159 in Chase Gymnasium.

In a match that was hotly contested through the first 4 games, the result swung on an 8-1 Biola run in the fifth set in which the Eagles assumed an insurmountable 10-4 lead. The Eagles scored 6 straight at one point and rode the momentum to their fourth straight win over the Cougars.

Biola used a balanced attack led by All-GSAC Meghan Warkentin in which 4 different players tallied at least 10 kills. Warkentin finished with 16, while Kelsey Mitchell and Kristen Peterson each tallied 14. Back-to-back kills by Warketin and Mitchell gave Biola a 5-3 lead in the fifth set and when Mitchell and Peterson followed with a block of an Ariel Beetstra attempt, Biola was clearly in control of the fifth and deciding set.

Azusa Pacific was paced by All-American Jill Baker and her match-high 18 kills. Sophomore Chelsea Daley added 17 kills while the freshman Beetstra finished with 10.

The Cougars used a 9-3 run in the opening set to move out to a 22-16 advantage before holding on to edge the Eagles by 3 points. After Biola rallied with identical 25-22 scores to take sets 2 and 3, Azusa Pacific took a thrilling fourth set in which neither team led by more than 2 points throughout the set. Freshman Marguerite Hanna’s only kill of the night clinched the fourth set for Azusa Pacific.

With the loss Azusa Pacific falls to 21-10 overall, 11-8 in the GSAC, while Biola improves to 26-3 overall, 16-3 in the GSAC.