An undefeated week from the Cougars on the volleyball court highlighted another week of athletics in Azusa.
Between a tough soccer slate, an impressive showing from the cross country team and superb volleyball play, it was another great week to be a Cougar sports fan. As PacWest play begins for some teams and draws closer for others, every game means more.
The biggest story of the week is easily the dominant performance of the Cougar volleyball team. Azusa Pacific opened PacWest Conference play 2-0, taking down Academy of Art 3-1, and Dominican University 3-0.
In their match against the Urban Knights, APU dominated the first set 25-16. A closer second set led to a 26-24 win for the Cougars, while the Urban Knights fought back to win the third set 25-18. In the fourth set, APU was once again able to seal the match victory tightly, 25-22.
The Cougars also swept Dominican, truly showcasing their dominance in the final sets. The Penguins lost a competitive first set, 25-22 before APU won the last two by a score of 25-18 each.
Picking up two conference wins was huge for the Cougars who moved to 5-5 overall and 2-0 in the conference. The Cougars begin their trip to Hawaii this week to take on Hawai’i Pacific, No. 14 Chaminade and Hawai’i Hilo.
The women’s soccer team added to the win column last week after taking down Chico State, 2-0, and stayed above .500 by forcing a draw against Cal State Los Angeles.
A scoreless first half against the Wildcats was quickly turned around by a Rilee Bradbury goal in the 54th minute. This marked the first goal of the season for the junior midfielder. The team’s next goal would come late in the 88th minute by junior forward Angela Cipriano, assisted by freshman forward Madison Woodward. The Cougars’ defense supported the offense by shutting out Chico State.
APU’s matchup against Cal State Los Angeles saw both teams finish scoreless, however, not for a lack of trying. The Cougars finished with 10 shots in the game, seven of which were on goal. Equally stellar defense from APU limited the Golden Eagles to just seven shots.
At 3-2-1 overall, the Cougars are in a nice spot before a solo matchup against Westmont on Saturday at home.
A difficult schedule left the Cougars 0-2 on the week after losses after a 2-0 loss at No. 2 Cal State Los Angeles and a 4-0 home loss against No. 15 Cal Poly Pomona this past weekend. Offensive struggles continue to be a theme for this Cougar team.
Against the Golden Eagles of Cal State Los Angeles, the Cougars were outshot 10 to two in the first half. Despite this, the Cougar defense stepped up to hold Cal State to just one goal in the half. The second half saw an offensive turnaround where APU outshot Cal State by three goals, however, it wasn’t enough as the Golden Eagles took advantage of a two-on-one, scoring their second goal in the 69th minute.
At home, the Cougars faced familiar challenges on offense against Cal Poly. In a physical matchup, APU was once again outshot in the first half 11 to four. The Broncos’ offensive pressure led to a 3-0 lead. Aggressive play from both sides led to several early yellow cards in the first half. Despite an improved offensive effort and ball control, the Cougars were unable to find the net.
The Cougars now sit at 1-3-1 on the season before matchups at Concordia on Wednesday and at home against Westmont on Saturday.
Both the men’s and women’s cross-country teams had impressive showings at the UCR Invitational in Riverside, Calif. The men’s team finished fourth while the women’s team finished seventh, continuing APU’s reputation as a dominant program. Their performance also saw both teams place above several NCAA Division I teams.
On the men’s side, senior Nixon Korir finished with an impressive finish of 14th in the 8k. Meanwhile, senior Justine Stecko finished 24th overall in the 6k and took home the title of top performer for the women’s squad.
The nationally-ranked Cougars have some time to rest before traveling to Louisville, Ky. on Sept. 30 for the Live in Lou Cross Country Classic.