Last Saturday, Point Loma Nazarene rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win 3 straight games and upset the NAIA's top-ranked Fresno Pacific, handing the Sunbirds their first conference loss in 2 years while snapping their 48-match conference winning streak. Against Azusa Pacific, the Sea Lions nearly reversed their fortunes, allowing a 2-0 lead to slip away and finding itself down 3-0 in the fifth and deciding game. However, All-American Rochelle Short came to the rescue and tallied 3 of her match-high 25 kills during a 9-1 run to right the Sea Lion ship and lead Point Loma back on track with a 9-4 fifth-game cushion, allowing the Sea Lions to cruise in for the victory, albeit with frayed nerves.
The Sea Lions drilled Azusa Pacific in the opening 2 games, attacking at an impressive 30% clip as a team. However, the wheels fell off in games 3 and 4, and Azusa Pacific took advantage. In game 3 alone, Point Loma Nazarene committed 18 errors between hitting, serving and blocking (PLNU had just 11 errors in the first 2 games combined), and the Cougars needed only 11 kills to win the game.
The Loma slide continued in game 4 with 16 more errors. However, Azusa Pacific forced the issue as well, this time collecting 16 kills, led by Maria Abaca's 4 kills in the game.
The Cougars, who have been in funk of their own by dropping 6 of their past 9 matches which induced a free-fall from the NAIA Coaches' Poll, seemingly was headed toward a Point Loma-like comeback when they opened the fifth game with 3 straight points to take a quick 3-0 lead. However, Azusa Pacific never got any closer to victory as Point Loma regained control of the game and eventually the match.
Abaca and All-American Jenna Sagehorn led the Cougars with a team-high 13 kills apiece. All-GSAC sophomore Jenny Brickner added 10 kills and continued to pace the GSAC's top blocking team by having a hand in 9 of the Cougars' 11 blocks.
With the victory, Point Loma Nazarene improves 22-2 overall, 13-2 in the GSAC. Azusa Pacific falls to 15-11 overall, 7-8 in the GSAC.