AZUSA, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific women’s volleyball team dropped a three-set match to No. 4 ranked BYU-Hawaii on Thursday night. The Cougars (17-8, 9-6) pushed the Seasiders to the brink in the first and third set before ultimately watching BYU-Hawaii record its seventh consecutive sweep with a 25-22, 25-17, 27-25 victory in the Felix Event Center.
Shih Ting Chen showed why she’s the Pacific West Conference’s two-time Player of the Year, tallying a match-high 20 kills to go with 14 digs. The Seasiders posted a .261 attack percentage, and sided out Azusa Pacific at a 68 percent rate.
Christy Cain led all Cougars with nine kills, while Ashley Swatek, Alicia Utke, and Joy Reinke each tallied 11 digs in the loss.
Azusa Pacific didn’t trail by more than three points in the first set, and fought back from an early five-point deficit before taking a 20-19 lead on a Cain kill. BYU-Hawaii responded with three consecutive points to make it a 22-20 set, but Azusa Pacific countered with a 5-3 rally to knot it at 25-all. The Seasiders, however, closed the match out with consecutive kills, clinching their 21st win of the season.
Azusa Pacific saw BYU-Hawaii go on an 11-3 spree to close the second set after the teams were squared at 14 apiece. The Cougars kept it close at 19-17 before Chen registered four kills in a 6-0 set-closing run.
The Cougars tabbed a .211 attack percentage, and had six players with four or more kills. Mattie Shelford and Lauren Edwards each finished with six kills, while Reinke and Utke tallied seven and five respectively. Hayley Beetstra rounded things out with four kills form the rightside.
Jaden Louie had six digs and registered a team-high 16 assists, with Tristan Racich finishing with 12 assists on the night.
Azusa Pacific will return to action on Friday night, where it will look to avenge an earlier loss to Hawai’i Hilo. The Cougars will then close out the regular season home schedule against Chaminade at 3 p.m. on Saturday before traveling to the Bay Area for their final three regular season contests.