After a slow start, the Cougars found their rhythm and defeated Academy of Art

Azusa Pacific volleyball defeated the Academy of Art Urban Knights 3-0 (25-19, 25-11, 25-20) on Friday night. After a slow start, the Cougars dominated the second set and held on to a tight third set victory. 

The first set was very even for both teams. APU and Art traded points back and forth for 25 minutes, all the way to 17-17. From there, APU was finally able to put together two runs, of three and four points, to take the set 25-19.

“It was our lack of execution from the service line in the first set, and also receiving their serves. It was a combo of our offense not doing as well as they could have been and giving them too many points by missing too many serves,” said head coach Chris Keife.

After a close first set, APU opened it up quickly in the second. The Cougars put together runs of four and seven points, bringing the score to 19-7. Art rallied back three points, but the Cougars easily closed the set 25-11.

“Just finally being able to lock down on our blocking and our defense gave us opportunities to use our offense again and again,” said freshman Annaka Jorgenson.

APU jumped out to a quick lead in the third set, but they weren’t able to open it up. The Cougars grabbed leads of three and four points multiple times, but the Urban Knights kept cutting the lead back. Nevertheless, the Cougars pushed through and put away the Urban Knights 25-20 on a kill by senior Aliyah Morrison.

“[Closing out] That’s something that we’re still learning … that’s just volleyball. We’re getting better at it game by game. You don’t want to go to a fourth set, because then it’s all up in the air. It’s nice to just end in three,” said senior Julianne Miller. 

Miller finished tied for second on the night in kills with nine. Sophomore Katarina Radisic matched her total with nine, while Jorgenson paced the team with 12. Other leaders for the Cougars included senior Sara Wagenveld with four blocks, junior Mina Andjelkovic with 21 assists and senior Bailey Hennington with 11 digs.

“It’s really awesome to see how our practices are showing on the court. Our team practices hard in the gym and we try to make each one count,” Miller said. “With Annaka being a freshman, it’s just showing that her work ethic in insurmountable. Our team has such a work ethic and it shows on the court.”

With the win, the Cougars improve to 20-4 on the season. APU will head to La Mirada tomorrow to take on their rival, Biola, in a Cornerstone Cup matchup. The match begins at 7 p.m.