The Cougars came home and made a statement.
All throughout October, the Cougar volleyball team hit the road for six away games. They came back with six wins, creating a new winning streak after they lost to Concordia late September. Finally, the Cougars returned home to face the Sea Lions from Point Loma Nazarene. With 216 spectators in attendance, the Cougars swept Point Loma three sets to none, earning their seventh straight win.
The first set started off strong for Point Loma, with the Sea Lions scoring the first two points of the night. However, the Cougars quickly answered with four straight kills of their own. Junior Katarina Radisichit two consecutive service aces while sophomores Kyra Palmbush and Annaka Jorgenson each contributed a kill to put the Cougars in the lead.
In total, Palmbush landed five kills, Radisic had four kills, and graduate student Abby Hills provided an additional three kills to bring the Cougars closer to victory. On the defensive side, the Cougars did not score via blocks. They were, however, very active on the defensive side. Graduate student and Libero Bailey Henington put her lightning-fast reflexes on display with several dives to save the ball, one of which was so fast she had to roll backwards to get back up.
After an easy 25-20 win in the first set, the Cougars started the second set off on the wrong foot. Point Loma was able to make a strong case for a win early on, bringing the score to five apiece early on in the set. With both teams fighting for the lead, the ball was in the air for a near two-minute rally until APU finally scored and took the lead 6-5.
That lead did not last long, however. The Sea Lions answered with a thunderous statement and took the lead for a majority of the second set. On average, for every point APU scored, Point Loma scored three. This brought the score to 19-12 halfway through the set, with the score in favor of Point Loma. With the Cougars tailing, they regrouped after a timeout and made a strong comeback.
With multiple attack and service errors by the Sea Lions and three kills by Radisic, Jorgenson and Hills (one each), the Cougars tied the set at 21 apiece. With the momentum now in favor of the Cougars, Radisic put the final kill on the board before a series of errors sealed the fate of the Sea Lions. The Cougars took the second set 25-21, leaving just one more set between them and their seventh straight victory.
The third set was a return to form for the Cougars. Building off the hype and momentum from their recent comeback, they made quick work of the Sea Lions, defeating them 25-18. As Henington made quick work of the floor, Radisic and Palmbush each had three kills. Hills, Jorgenson and junior Kaitlin Craig provided additional kills. Combined with the service and attack errors caused by the Sea Lions, the Cougars swept Point Loma in three sets.
Even with a rough second set, the Cougars dominated the court in nearly every aspect of the game. Radisic led the game in kills with 11 overall while Palmbush had the highest hitting percentage with .529%. Andjedlkovic had the most assists with 19 and Radisic tied with freshman teammate Selena Balderas for the most service aces of the game (three).
The Cougars are now sporting a 15-4 record overall and a 10-1 record in the PacWest season. They next head to Honolulu, Hawai’i, where they will play a series of games that were originally postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. The first game of the series will be against Chaminade on November 8.