AZUSA, Calif. -- It wasn't very pretty, but it got the job done. The NAIA's No. 6-ranked Azusa Pacific, shrugged off another sloppy start to defeat Hope International, 30-23, 27-30, 30-15, 30-24, for its ninth straight win over the Royals.
The Cougars jumped out to take the opening game 30-23 before falling into a brief slump from which the Royals snuck up and took game 2 (30-27) to even the match 1-1. Whatever happened quickly awoke the Cougars, who behind the play of freshman MB Jenny Brickner exploded to put the match away by taking the next 2 games for their 12th win in the past 14 matches.
Brickner had a career night, registering a career- and match-high 24 kills, hitting a .472 clip. She also added 7 blocks. As a team, the Cougars, one of the GSAC's top blocking teams, recorded 15 team blocks, led by sophomore All-GSAC Adrienne Pepe's 8. Sophomore Maria Abaca chipped in with 11 kills. Junior All-American Jenna Sagehorn finished with 9 kills and 14 digs.
With the win, Azusa Pacific moves to 17-5 overall, 12-3 GSAC. Hope International falls to 6-18, 0-15.