FRESNO, Calif. -- For Azusa Pacific it was a day that began well but ultimately ended in disappointment as the Cougars split their 2 matches on Saturday, August 27, at the Sunbird Invitational in Fresno, Calif.
The NAIA’s No. 17 ranked Cougars (3-1) began the morning by jumping all over No. 20 Bellevue (Neb.) from the outset of the match, earning a sweep of the Bruins 30-23, 30-17, 30-11. Freshman Brittany Brown continued her outstanding early season play displaying her all-around talent and it didn’t go unnoticed by her head coach Chris Keife.
“Brittany’s the heart of our team right now,” Keife said. “She has been playing consistently. She has been passing and defending well.”
After capturing the first game, the Cougars quickly got out to a 5-0 lead behind the serving of sophomore Alison Pattison. The seemingly shell-shocked Bruins recovered momentarily but quickly were dragged under a swell of Azusa Pacific momentum.
“They are playing within our system and with each match gaining confidence. We want to apply stress to the other team and not to ourselves,” added Keife.
Azusa Pacific then faced a Savannah Art & Design team that played perhaps its best match of the tournament in sweeping the Cougars, 30-21, 31-29, 30-24. The No. 19 Bees were paced by sophomore outside hitter Christina Payne who recorded a match-high 21 kills and 11 digs.
The Cougars were led by senior outside hitter Colleen Walker who had 11 kills while Pattison chipped in with 11 digs.
Azusa Pacific will be in action again next Friday as they face No. 9 Georgetown (Ky.) in their opening match at the Concordia (Ore.) Tournament.