HONOLULU, Hawai‘i -- Azusa Pacific finished its three-match visit to the Pacific West Conference programs on the island of O‘ahu with a four-set victory, 25-18, 25-9, 23-25, 25-19, over Chaminade University Saturday night in Honolulu. The Hawai‘i trip concludes for the Cougars with a flight to the Big Island to take on Hawai‘i Hilo on Monday night.
The Cougars registered 12 team blocks, just one away from tying a season-high, which led to the lowest hitting percentage (.050) by an Azusa Pacific opponent all year. Offensively, the Cougars relied heavily on the efficient performance of outside hitters Jackie Landers and Joy Reinke, who tallied 17 and 12 kills, respectively.
Christy Cain and Lauren Edwards registered six blocks each, and senior setter Sophie Burns registered 21 assists in the three sets she played, sitting out a third set which the Cougars nearly won, and she tallied eight digs and three blocks.
In the opening set, Landers had six kills in eight attempts, and Reinke tallied three kills in six attempts, with neither hitter committing a single error. Azusa Pacific snapped an 8-8 tie with four straight points which included consecutive Landers kills, and all three of Reinke’s kills came during a 10-5 run that closed out the opening set.
The Cougars scored the first seven as well as the last nine points of the second set, rolling to a 25-9 set victory that positioned Azusa Pacific for its second three-set sweep in conference play, but Chaminade jumped out to a 16-8 lead in the third set. The Cougars roared back to tie the set at 23-23, but the Silverswords extended the match by winning the final two points of the set.
Chaminade led by two points at 14-12 in the fourth set, but Edwards notched the last of her six kills to open up a 12-1 run that set up match point for Azusa Pacific. The Silverswords scored three in a row facing match point, but one final Reinke kill closed out the win for the Cougars.
Freshman libero Ashley Swatek notched 18 digs, her third-highest total in a match of four sets or fewer, and junior Emily Ingalls recorded two of Azusa Pacific’s five aces along with a pair of digs. Senior Nicole Sepulveda got the start for the Cougars for the second straight night in her hometown of Honolulu, and she recorded five digs.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 13-7 overall while balancing its PacWest ledger to 5-5. Chaminade drops to 6-13 overall and 3-8 in conference play.
Following Monday’s visit to Hawai‘i Hilo, the Cougars will visit another new time zone with a Saturday, Oct. 20 trip into Utah to take on Dixie State College in St. George.