Here is a rundown of all the athletic excitement from last week.
For several programs this week, such as men’s and women’s tennis, water polo and swim and dive, the seniors were celebrated as they played their final regular-season games on home field. However, sports such as softball, baseball and track and field continued their season, looking to continue their winning ways. Here’s a brief recap of every game that Azusa Pacific played during their thirteenth week of play.
Swimming and Diving
April 14-16 — PCSC Conference Championships Results
After three days of tough competition, APU swim and dive finished in the top five of the PCSC Conference Championships after accumulating a final point total of 807. The first day was highlighted by Amy Cryne, who for the second straight year finished first in the three-meter dive after she placed a final score of 276.00. In the event, the Cougars placed first, second and third, which was the only event in which APU achieved such a feat throughout championship play. On the second day, two Cougars reached the podium after Tessie Scavone and Riley Smith had top-three finishes in their individual meets. The final day of competition saw Emily Rigsby take home gold in the 200 fly after a time of 2:06.48 and added 32 points to the team’s final total. In what was their final meet of the season, head coach Tim Kyle referenced their top-five finish as “an accomplishment of hard work, passion and determination.”
April 14 — L, 3-2 vs Point Loma
After falling behind 2-0 for the second consecutive match this season, the Cougars were looking for a similar result to last week when they were able to escape the hole and secure a five-set victory over Westmont. However, favor was not on their side this week. Although the Cougars were able to recover and tie the match at 2-2, the fifth and final set favored the Sea Lions. After the fourth set was dominated by the Cougars’ defense, with three blocks by Kyra Palmbush leading to a late 6-0 run, the fifth set favored Point Loma 13-5 early on. While APU made a push near the end, it was too big of a deficit as PLNU escaped with the 15-12 advantage. Now holding a 6-3 record — with all three of those losses coming from PacWest opponents — the Cougars will play their final regular-season game at home against Biola next week.
Men’s and Women’s Track and Field
April 16-17 — Bryan Clay Invitational
It was another brilliant meet for APU track and field, as three records were set at the Bryan Clay Invitational. Amanda Fassold beat her previous all-time mark in pole vaulting again as she cleared a height of 4.29m. This was the third time this season Fassold cleared her previous record and broke the program’s record. On Friday, hurdler Jaylah Walker also broke her school record in the 400 hurdles with an automatic qualifying time of 59.65. The next day she beat her record again, finishing with a 58.16, which made her the national leader in that particular event.
As for Jenny Sandoval, the long-distance transfer runner, she once again impressed on the track. After breaking the program’s record in the 5k event last week, Sandoval broke the program record with her 32:58.39 finish in the 10k. It was the fifth-fastest time in NCAA DII history. Chin Agina also set a new personal record in the high jump with her 1.77m mark, while Jermel Jones II on the men’s side continued his impressive season as he had a career day in the triple-jump event on Saturday.
April 16 — W, 7-0 vs San Diego Christian
Heading into the week as the No. 9 DII team in the country, women’s tennis lived up to the hype on Friday after securing their third 7-0 sweep of the season. Beginning with a three-match sweep in the doubles portion, Jacky Wagner continued her recent stretch of impressive outings as she was the first Cougar to earn a singles win on the day, beating her opponent 6-0, 6-1 in the No. 3 spot. Carolyn Brooner quickly followed with her 6-0, 6-2 conquest, and Anna Savchenko clinched the match for the Cougars with her 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 2. After No. 1 singles player Petra Ivankovic beat her opponent with a 6-0, 6-3 finish, APU also saw victories in the No. 5 and 6 spot to earn the clean seven-match sweep.
April 17 — W, 4-0 vs Hawaii Pacific
With a chance to earn a fourth straight sweep, the Cougars faced a tough test in the form of the No. 7 Sharks on home courts. On a Saturday evening when the program was honoring their senior student-athletes, the celebration only continued to grow after the Cougars began to witness results. The doubles portion of the match immediately favored APU as they swept all of their matchups. The singles portion was far more competitive between the two top-ten sides. Madison Kane was the first singles player to earn a point despite a tight 7-5 favor in the first set of her victory. Wagner was the next to earn a win. She won 7-5, 6-0 in the No. 3 spot. With a chance to sweep their PacWest rivals, Brooner provided the final blow as she came back from a 6-3 deficit in the second set and won the set with a 7-6 (7-2) tiebreaker win. Finishing the regular season with a 12-2 record, the Cougars’ next step is the PacWest Conference Tournament on April 21.
April 16 — W, 4-1 vs San Diego Christian
The men’s side followed suit to the women’s side. Another top-10 program, the Cougars continued their winning stretch against SDCC. The doubles point was easily picked up by APU because they swept the three-match stretch. Jakob Schnaitter, who is set as the No. 1 singles player, was the first to earn a singles point after a 6-1, 6-2 finish. Ryan Nuno played in the No. 2 spot for only the third time this season, and the decision proved favorable for the Cougars as his 6-1, 6-1 victory. It gave the Cougars a 3-0 advantage. Although the Hawks earned a point in the No. 3 spot, Cole Rassner’s No. 6 win gave APU the decisive fourth point.
April 17 — W, 4-1 vs Hawaii Pacific
In what proved to be one of the strongest winning streaks to end a season in program history, the Cougars won their twelfth straight in their season finale against Hawaii Pacific. With the Sharks ranking at No. 10, APU’s men’s team, similar to the women’s team, would need to play at their best to earn the victory. It couldn’t have started stronger, as the Cougars earned yet another sweep in the doubles matchups. Again it was Schnaitter — who was honored as a senior along with teammates Nuno and Jesse Haas — that earned the first single point. Rassner continued his closing trend as his singles victory gave the Cougars the win. APU finishes their regular season undefeated against Division II opponents in 2021, and they will continue to play PacWest opponents next week in the conference tournament.
April 17 — W, 12-6 vs Concordia Irvine
In their final game of the regular season, APU was able to secure a victory against a PacWest opponent when the seniors were being celebrated. Britni Tisdale and Hannah Bradley, who are both four-year players for the water polo program, played their final game as a Cougar on Saturday in what ended up being a fantastic offensive performance by APU. Heading into the third quarter, the game was knotted at four goals apiece. A 6-0 run in the third quarter by the Cougars ended up being the deciding factor of the game because all six of those goals were scored by six different players. Tisdale proved to be the most impactful player of the match. She scored a team-high three goals while also adding an assist and steal.
April 13 — W, 9-1 vs Saint Katherine
In Game 1 of their doubleheader, softball ran away with the mercy-rule victory against the Firebirds. Although the Firebirds were the first team to score in the contest, the Cougars went on a 9-0 run in which the Cougars scored four runs in the bottom half of the first while bringing across five in the fourth inning. Katie Korstrom earned her sixth victory of the season after pitching four innings of work before Liz Phillips came into the game to finish the contest. On offense, Ansley Kincaid was the star of the game as she went 2-for-3 at the plate and secured three RBIs.
April 13 — W, 10-3 vs Saint Katherine
Once again the opponents scored the first run of the game; however, it was clear who the better team was throughout the entirety of the seven innings. With the Cougars only holding a 4-3 favor in the bottom of the fifth, a 6-0 scoring deficit in the fifth and sixth allowed the Cougars to have a comfortable lead near the end of the game. During that stretch, Julia Olivares saved at least one run from scoring thanks to a brilliant defensive play in the top of the sixth. Olivares’ bat was also a major factor in the Cougars sweep against the Firebirds, as in Game 2 she went 2-for-4 from the plate, earning a double and triple, with three RBIs as well.
April 16 — W, 3-2 vs Biola
The Cougars made it three straight victories on Friday in the first game of their four-game series against the Eagles. In what was their ninth game played against their Cornerstone rival this season, the game was a pitcher’s duel. With the Eagles ace in the circle in Paige Austin, the Cougars announced Liz Phillips as their starter. Both pitchers threw three scoreless innings until the Cougars were able to score two runs in the fourth. With the Cougars holding the two-run lead heading into the sixth, the Eagles tied it up which brought the game to extra innings. With Austin still on the mound, APU was able to bring across the game-winning run off the bat of Dani Burghardt, which was her 11th RBI of the season.
April 16 — L, 7-6 vs Biola
The second game of the day was a three-hour affair that was even more back-and-forth than the previous. The Cougars continuously found themselves needing a response from their offense after the Eagles bats remained hot all game. In the third, Biola took a 4-1 lead, which increased to a 6-2 advantage heading into the bottom of the fifth. The Cougars scored two runs of their own in the bottom half mainly thanks to the bat of Becca Jewett. The Eagles would add another run in the next inning. APU responded with two runs to make it a one-score game. However, in both the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings, APU left the game-tying run at second, which ultimately resulted in the one-run loss.
April 17 — L, 5-1 vs Biola
The second day of the series started with a frustrating offensive display from APU. Despite Biola doing all of their offensive damage in the second inning, their five runs scored were simply too much to overcome from a struggling Cougar offense. Despite Jewett having yet another multi-game hit, APU only accumulated three hits by the end of the game, along with a single run from an Aly Montesino sacrifice fly that brought in Amanda Woods. Phillips was once again the most impressive pitcher for the Cougars, as she pitched four scoreless innings for the second time in the series.
April 17 — L, 2-0 vs Biola
APU’s offense failed to find consistency in their second game of the doubleheader, as Austin found her form for the Eagles. She threw a complete-game shutout for Biola, striking out four batters and only giving up three hits. Montesino was in the circle for the Cougars, and she also pitched in every inning for the defense. Despite giving up five hits and only two runs of damage in those six innings, Montesino’s offense could not turn her strong game into a victory, as the Cougars left six runners on base.
April 16 — W, 8-5 vs Concordia Irvine
Looking to continue their impressive start to the 2021 season, the Cougars found themselves in an early 3-1 hole in their first game of this week’s four-game series against CUI. That two-run deficit reached the fifth inning, and APU was 0-6 when trailing after four innings this season. However, Joseph Kim hit a grand slam in the fifth that completely flipped the game on its head. Although the Eagles responded with two runs to make it just a one-run lead for APU, the Cougars added two runs of extra insurance in the seventh and eighth innings. While Kim’s four-run homer continued A.J. Woodall’s faultless record — who advanced his win-loss record to 5-0 after securing the win — Korey Shepard was the pitcher of the game as he tossed 3.2 shutout innings from the pen.
April 16 — W, 18-12 vs Concordia Irvine
It was an offensive onslaught for the Cougars in the shortened second game of Friday’s doubleheader. It started hot in the first, as the Cougars scored five runs thanks to Omar Lopez’s and Griffen Herrera’s back-to-back home runs. The Eagles did not make it easy for APU. After the Cougars scored four runs in the second, CUI responded with a six-run top of the ninth which forced the Cougars starter, Cory Dawson, to be pulled from the game. Yet, a massive explosion of offense created an eight-run bottom of the third for APU. Casey Dykstra hit a grand slam in that bottom inning, making it the first time this season where APU hit a grand slam in consecutive games. Concordia made a brief push near the end and went on a 5-1 run of their own, but it wouldn’t be enough to counter APU’s 18 runs — a season-high.
April 17 — L, 11-10 vs Concordia Irvine
Although the offense remained hot in Game 3 of the series, the Cougars’ starting pitching continued to struggle. Brendan Dixon was on the mound for APU, and although he pitched over six innings, he gave up four runs in that span. The bullpen also struggled, as Dykstra earned the loss after the blown save opportunity in which the Eagles scored seven runs in the bottom of the ninth. Spencer Rasmussen continued to swing a hot bat and he hit a three-run homer in the fifth. Herrera and Osvaldo Tovalin also hit two-run home runs in the game, which gave APU a 10-4 lead heading into the final frame. The bullpen could not escape with the win, but it didn’t take long for the Cougars to redeem themselves.
April 17 — W, 17-8 vs Concordia Irvine
A frustrated offense entered the final game of the series on a mission from the beginning. Yet, another five-run first gave the Cougars a strong early lead. APU added 11 more runs through the next four innings, and they led the contest 16-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Although the Eagles did all that they could to attempt yet another comeback after a 6-1 run in the late innings, CUI could not climb themselves out of their hole this time around. Nick Estrella earned his fourth win this season on the bump, as the Cougars record advanced to 21-7. It was enough to secure at least a share of the PacWest Southern California Pod regular-season championship.