RIVERSIDE, Calif. – On Saturday afternoon California Baptist’s 11 blocks helped the Lancers stop Azusa Pacific’s eight-match winning streak, sweeping the Cougars (25-18, 25-19, 25-21), in the Van Dyne Gym.
Freshman middle blocker Malika O'Brien, who had a team record 15 blocks against the Cougars in September, continued to play well against Azusa Pacific, pacing the team with 11 kills and seven blocks.
The Cougars’ bid to finish their ninth consecutive season with 20 or more wins was put on hold by the loss, which snapped the Cougars season-best eight-match win streak.
Azusa Pacific had chances to win both the second and third set, but both times California Baptist strung together several points to win the set. Following a pair of kills and a block by freshman Ashley Vander Tuig, the Cougars only trailed by one in the second set, 20-19. However, O'Brien responded with her own pair of kills and a block as the Lancers won the final five points of the set.
Azusa Pacific even led late in the third set by a score of 21-20. The Cougars took the lead with back-to-back kills by Vander Tuig and Joy Reinke, but a service error ended Azusa Pacific's run. Cal Baptist took advantage of the error with four consecutive kills to win the match.
In the first set, the Lancers had kills from six different players along with six blocks team blocks. The Cougars kept the score close in the first half of the set, but the Lancers broke away, winning 11 of the final 16 points.
Vander Tuig led the Cougars statistically with 11 kills on 22 swings with just two errors along with a pair of blocks.
The Lancers' senior outside hitters Faith Steinwedell and Ingrid Carmona each had 10 kills with only one error on 41 combined attacks. Sophomore setter Jordyn Siko finished the match with 34 assists, eight digs, and four blocks.
The loss brings the Cougars record to 19-8 overall and 9-6 in PacWest play. The Cougars will return home for their final home matches of the season against Dominican on Wednesday and Holy Names on Friday before wrapping up the regular season at Biola.