AZUSA, Calif. -- Although No. 13-ranked Azusa Pacific was coming off a huge win over Concordia it needed to continue its winning ways tonight against Westmont in order to lock up third place in the Golden State Athletic Conference.
The Cougars were able to do just that as they swept the Warriors, 3-0 (35-33, 30-14, 30-24), and now face No. 3-ranked California Baptist on Thursday night in the regular season finale.
The Cougars had 4 players record at least 13 kills led by senior Jenny Brickner who, in her final regular season home game, had 17 kills and 3 blocks without a hitting error. Chelsea Morgan had 16 kills as Azusa Pacific (23-6, 13-5) hit a robust .328 in winning its fourth consecutive match. The Cougars have also won 10 of their past 11.
In the final regular season home contest for the seniors, Brickner, Jessica DeJager and Colleen Walker went out in style combining for 44 kills, 17 digs and 5 blocks.
With the win, Azusa Pacific has won 9 of its past 10 conference matches which is its best stretch in the GSAC since winning 9 straight in 2002. Head coach Chris Keife now has 43 career wins which is the most of any head coach in their first 2 seasons.
Morgan and Brickner got off to quick starts as they combined for 16 kills in the first game but Westmont kept the score close due largely to its mistake free play. The Warriors committed only 4 hitting errors and were led by Kristen De Groot and Kelsey Voetmann who had 6 kills apiece.
Brickner’s kill with the score tied at 29 gave the Cougars a chance to serve out the first game but Amber Donovan brought the teams even at 30-30 with a kill of her own. Morgan then followed with a hitting error giving the Warriors a chance to seize early momentum.
However, the Cougars called timeout and regrouped quickly with a pair of kills by Walker to take a 32-31 lead. Kacie Spencer-Smith followed with a kill to knot the game up at 33-33 setting the table for Azusa Pacific to win it as Morgan and DeJager each ripped off a kill to win it 35-33.
From there the Cougars were able to keep the Warriors at bay as they hit .385 in the second game and .286 in the third. Westmont, could not muster much offense consistently after the first game, finished the match hitting .215.
The Cougars travel to Riverside to battle the Lancers on Thursday, Nov. 10 in a match scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.