LA MIRADA, Calif.-- It would usually stand as one of Azusa Pacific's biggest matches of the season, but with both teams' playoff schedules already cemented, and with it being the first non-conference regular season tilt between the schools in 26 years, Tuesday night's season finale was just another match. A match the Cougars will have no trouble forgetting.as they registered just 29 kills to fall in three sets (25-18, 25-16, 25-20) to the NAIA's No. 4-ranked Biola.
Azusa Pacific recorded one of their worst hitting performances of the year, posting a .092 attack percentage as they were swept for the fourth time of the season. Jackie Landers was the only Azusa Pacific player to reach double figure kills, tallying 14 on 43 attempts with six errors. Lauren Edwards’ four kills were the second-most from a Cougar in the loss. Sophie Burns failed to reach the 20-assist mark for the first time since an Oct. 10 loss at BYU-Hawai’i, dishing out 16 to put the senior setter at 996 this season.
Biola (27-4) notched 10 blocks, led by Nicolette Mather, who posted a match-high six, and had two players finish with 10+ kills to help the Eagles register a .270 attack percentage.
In the opening set Biola utilized an early 5-0 run to take an early 7-3 lead on Chelsee Arnitz's second kill of the night. The Cougars scratched back and cut the deficit to as little as three, but couldn’t get any closer than that in the opening game.
In the second set Azusa Pacific sprinted to a 5-1 lead after back-to-back kills from Landers, forcing the Eagles to call timeout. Out of the break Biola benefited from the first of five Cougar errors in the next six points, and eventually took a 7-5 lead on Mather’s first block of the set. A Landers kill made it 7-6, but that was as close as Azusa Pacific would get, falling 25-18. In the frame Biola out-hit the Cougars .382 to .147.
The third set saw the Eagles take a quick 3-1 edge, but Azusa Pacific eventually overtook the lead at 11-8 on a Landers kill. Biola tallied eight of the next 12 points to make it a 16-15 game, and proceeded to close out the Cougars for a 25-20 win, clinching the team’s first sweep of Azusa Pacific since 2010.
The match, which had no conference or playoff implications for either team, was the 78th all-time meeting between the two programs and the Eagles currently hold a 46-32 edge on Azusa Pacific.
The Cougars kick off the National Christian College Athletics Association postseason on Thursday night with a West Region semifinal match at California Baptist. The Lancers swept Azusa Pacific in the last meeting in Riverside, and spoiled the team’s home-opener with a 3-1 victory in the Felix Event Center.