HILO, Hawai‘i-- Despite a career-match from Mattie Shelford the Azusa Pacific women’s volleyball team fell to Hawai‘i Hilo in five sets on Wednesday night. The Cougars led 2-1 after three, and had three match points in the fifth before the Vulcans closed the match on a 5-0 run to hand the Cougars a loss (19-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-18, 16-14) in their first of three island contests.
Shelford finished with a career-high 24 kills, 10 more than her season-best, and five higher than the career-high she set against Point Loma as a freshman. Azusa Pacific significantly out-hit Hawai‘i Hilo .327 to .249, but posted marks of .189 and .233 in the final two sets as the Vulcans completed the improbable comeback.
In the final set Azusa Pacific led by as many as four before pulling ahead 14-11 and within a point of clinching the match. The Vulcans, however, held off the Cougars with a kill, and ace sandwiching an Azusa Pacific error to make it 14-all. Hawai‘i Hilo then took its second lead of the game on Marley Strand-Nicolaisen’s 19th kill, before a Cougar attack error gave the Vulcans (6-9, 1-9) their first Pacific West Conference win of the season.
Christy Cain tied her career-high with 16 kills, recording them at a .464 clip, while Lauren Edwards registered 12 kills with a .600 attack percentage.Tristan Racich tabbed 34 assists and 12 digs, while Jaden Louie added 25 assists.
Ashley Swatek had a match-high 23 digs, and chipped in with three assists, while Alicia Utke (16) and Joy Reinke (12) also finished with double-digit digs.
Azusa Pacific registered five aces, but gave away 11 points on service errors in their first five-set loss since a 3-2 defeat against Cal State Dominguez Hills on the opening day of the season.
The Cougars will move their Hawaiian trip over to Oahu for a pair of matches on Friday and Saturday. Azusa Pacific will first take on Hawai‘i Pacific before battling Chaminade in Honolulu.