Azusa Pacific 3Westmont 1
AZUSA, Calif. -- If Azusa Pacific has any desire to play in its first NAIA Championship Tournament since 2000, it has to win matches like this.
Shaking off all ill effects of Tuesday night’s heartbreaking upset to unranked California Baptist, the NAIA’s No. 18-ranked Cougars came out smoking and never let up in upsetting No. 11-ranked Westmont in 4 games, 30-27, 30-22, 30-32, 30-18, in the Felix Event Center. The win is just the Cougars second in the past 7 meetings with the Warriors and their fifth in the past 19.
Three-time All-American Jenna Sagehorn led the Cougars with 17 kills and 16 digs. Roxanna Mercer finished with 13 kills, 13 digs and 5 blocks while hitting at a .367 clip.
After taking a commanding 2-0 lead, the Cougars seemed headed towards a 3-game sweep when they took a 29-26 lead and the serve in the third game. However, Patti Scofield recorded one of her match-high 20 kills to snatch the momentum away and lead the Warriors to a 32-30 win and new life.
Game 4 was tied 15-15 when Jenny Brickner recorded her tenth kill of the night to give the Cougars the lead for good. Back-to-back kills by Christy D’Jernes and Maria Abaca sandwiched between a pair of Westmont setting errors opened up a 20-15 advantage then scored 10 of the final 13 points to get the win.
Abaca enjoyed her finest performance of the season, recording 10 kills and 0 errors in 23 attempts (.435). Brickner also had 10 kills (1 error in 23 attempts) and 7 blocks and hit .391. As a team, the Cougars recorded 15 blocks, highlighted by 7 apiece from Brickner and D’Jernes.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 11-4 overall, 3-1 GSAC. Westmont drops to 7-4, 1-2.