OAKLAND, Calif.-- Following a disappointing third set, the Azusa Pacific women’s volleyball team closed out its 3-1 victory over Holy Names in emphatic fashion, clinching the Cougars’ 21st win of the year with a 25-22, 25-16, 26-28, 25-11 road win on Friday night. Azusa Pacific had three players with double-digit kills and sided out the Hawks at a 91 percent clip (11-12) in the final game, holding HNU to just six kills in the deciding set.
Sophomore outside hitter Mattie Shelford paced the Cougars with 18 kills, while junior right side hitter Hayley Beetstra had one of her most productive matches of the year with 11 kills. Shelford registered a .394 attack percentage in the win, and added two digs and two block assists.
Senior middle blocker Christy Cain added 11 kills, while sophomore setters Jaden Louie and Tristan Racich directed an attack that posted a .231 hitting percentage with a combined 53 assists. Sophomore libero Ashley Swatek and junior outside hitter Alicia Utke each tabbed 21 digs, and Racich notched the team’s lone double-double with 23 assists and 13 digs. Junior defensive specialist Cori Esparza also recorded double figure digs, tallying 15 on the night.
The Cougars (21-8, 13-6) twice had match point in the third set, leading 24-23 and 26-25 before Holy Names (1-28, 1-18) fought back to push the contest to four sets with a 28-26 win. Azusa Pacific responded in the fourth, outscoring the Hawks 19-5 down the stretch to post a 25-11 win. Azusa Pacific had at least 15 kills in each set, tabbing a match-high 17 in the fourth.
Ashley Midland and Lauren Edwards each posted five kills on the night, and Utke finished with eight kills and one ace.
Azusa Pacific will close the regular season on Saturday at 3 p.m. when it takes on Dominican in San Rafael before the Cougars find out their postseason fate in the NCCAA tournament..