The Cougars, who are coming off their third straight 20-win season for the first time in program history, are looking to improve upon their 21-9 mark from last season, including a program-best 15-5 mark in GSAC action. At one point last season, the Cougars climbed to No. 6 in the NAIA rankings before finishing the season as the No. 13 team in the NAIA.
Three Cougar seniors, among them 3-time All-American Jenna Sagehorn as well as 2-time All-GSAC Christy Kimmel and Roxanna Mercer, are looking to bookend their careers with national tournament appearances. The trio went to the NAIA Tournament in West Palm Beach, Fla. as freshmen in 2000.
They will attempt to do so by playing in a trio of preseason tournaments. The Cougars open the season at the Fresno Pacific Tournament August 22-23. They then host NAIA-independent Alliant International Wednesday, August 27 in the Cougars’ 2003 home-opener before playing in the annual Concordia Tournament August 29-30.
Azusa Pacific then returns the favor to Alliant International and travels to San Diego to face the Mountain Lions September 3 before coming home again to host the first-ever Azusa Pacific Tournament September 5-6. The Cougars’ first-ever tournament features GSAC-rivals Biola, Point Loma Nazarene as well as rising NAIA foe Notre Dame de Namur and Frontier Conference champions Carroll (Mont.), which was ranked No. 23 in last year’s preseason poll.
The Cougars then begin their grueling 20-game GSAC schedule hosting Hope International October 9 at 7 p.m. One of the top volleyball conferences in the NAIA, the GSAC sent 3 teams to last year’s NAIA Tournament where 2 teams (Point Loma Nazarene and Westmont) advanced to the quarterfinals and one (Fresno Pacific) advanced to the semifinals.
To view Azusa Pacific’s 2003 volleyball schedule, click here.