POMONA, Calif.-- For the first time this season the Azusa Pacific women’s volleyball team’s youth showed, resulting in the Cougars’ first loss of 2012 as they committed 29 errors and hit just .172 in a three-set sweep (25-18, 25-18, 31-29) at the hands of Cal Poly Pomona in the first match of the CPP/CSULA Invitational at Darlene May Gym.
But in mature fashion, Azusa Pacific bounced back to notch a sweep of its own in the nightcap, defeating Cal State San Marcos in three sets (25-13, 25-19, 25-21) to improve to 6-1 this year. Junior outside hitter Jackie Landers led the team in kills, registering 26 in six sets of work, while Joy Reinke and Lauren Edwards each added 13.
In the win against San Marcos senior setter Sophie Burns directed an improved Cougar attack, assisting on 24 kills while adding 10 digs for the team’s only double-double of the day. Three Cougars finished with six or more kills, with freshman middle blocker Ashley Vander Tuig tallying six to go with four blocks. Landers recorded a game-high 15 kills on 21 attempts, five of which came in a 25-13 first set win.
In the second set both teams battled through the first 21 points with the Cougars holding an 11-10 edge. And as it seemed that Azusa Pacific would pull away, leading 15-10, San Marcos rallied back with four of the next five points. That run, however, ended on an Edwards kill, giving Azusa Pacific the momentum to pull away with a 25-19 victory.
The third set saw San Marcos take control early, jumping out to a 7-3 lead. But a five point Cougar run, capped by an ace from Breezy Funk, quickly turned things around. Moments later with the two teams knotted at 11s Azusa Pacific went on its next spree, this time a six-point burst powered by three kills from Landers and Hayley Beetstra. San Marcos would get to within two points, but was unable catch the Cougars as Azusa Pacific tallied its second sweep of the season.
Reinke had a strong all-around match, posting eight kills, two blocks, and five digs. Freshman libero Ashley Swatek had six digs and three assists, while Mattie Shelford contributed with four kills, an ace, and two blocks.
In the match against the Broncos Cal Poly Pomona held Azusa Pacific to their worst hitting average of the season as the Cougars compiled a .172 mark on 37 kills I a three-set loss (25-18, 25-18, 31-29). Landers paced the team with 11 kills, but also had seven attack errors in the effort. Edwards and Vander Tuig each finished with nine kills. Vander Tuig added two blocks and an assist.
The Cougars will get back on the court tomorrow for another pair of matches at the CPP/CSULA Invitational. They are set to face off with Cal State Dominguez Hills at noon before playing Cal State Los Angeles at 7 p.m. At the Seaside Invitational the Cougars outlasted Dominguez Hills in five sets for their second win of the year.