APU put together a solid all around performance against rival Point Loma

Azusa Pacific’s volleyball team won their conference opener against Point Loma on Saturday afternoon, taking down the Sea Lions 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-23). 

The Cougars relied on veteran leadership to secure the victory but also had strong performances by their underclassmen, including freshman outside hitter Annaka Jorgenson, who finished second on the team with 10 kills.

“Everyone did a really good job of just taking care of the things they needed to,” Jorgenson said. “We just really fed off of each other’s energy and I think that’s what helped us pull out the win.”

APU came out of the gate strong, going on an eight-point run in the first set. The Cougars never relinquished the lead, also stringing together a five-point and a four-point run to claim the set 25-13.

“We came out pretty strong emotionally. We knew what we wanted to do. We know how Point Loma plays,” head coach Chris Keife said. “We served well, which is one of the things we wanted to focus in on today… Our hitters did a good job of making good choices out there.”

Point Loma kept the second set much closer, staying within a couple of points of APU until the end when the Cougars went on a five-point run. During the set, seniors Julianne Miller and Sara Wagenveld paced the Cougars with four kills apiece. 

Overall, Miller led the team in kills, notching 11 in the match with a .524 attack percentage. Wagenveld finished third in kills (with nine), and led the Cougars with seven blocks.

“This is my last first conference opener. It was really fun to come out on a high note,” Wagenveld said. “It’s always fun to play against Point Loma because they always bring the energy. It’s great to bring our best against their best because they always save it for us. They seem to have it out for us, so it always makes for an interesting game.”

The Cougars started the third set off well, racing off to a six-point lead. However, Point Loma hung in there and nearly completed a comeback, drawing within two points. The Cougars’ big lead proved to be just enough, as the team held on to clinch the set and the match.

“Finishing is something we need to work on. It was unnecessarily close at the end,” Wagenveld said. “But I really liked how we started out really strong. Today, we really went about it in a business-like way, because we’ve won a few games where we don’t start out too strong, at least in the preseason …  We got a big run right away at the beginning of the game and kept that all the way throughout.”

Keife said he was proud of the way his team played today. He was very happy with the way Jorgenson contributed.

“She did a good job out there offensively. She managed the game. She’s a smart player,” Keife said. “She’s been an asset to our team since she got here.”

“It’s been a wild ride,” Jorgenson said. “The girls are amazing. Being a freshman is easy because they’re so welcoming and so uplifting …  [there’s] a lot of pressure going out there, but it’s a good kind of pressure. I’ve really enjoyed it.”

With the win, the Cougars improve to 7-2 on the season. Their next contest is at Holy Names on Friday at 6 p.m.