Returning the favor

this is an image

Home-court advantage is not a myth for the Azusa Pacific women’s volleyball team. The Cougars swept the conference-leading Point Loma Sea Lions (25-18, 25-14, 25-19) Saturday afternoon at the Felix Event Center after playing seven of their last eight games on the road. The Cougars are 6-1 at home this year and all of those wins were sweeps.

Sophomore outside hitter Joy Reinke tabbed a game-high 14 kills and was the only player to record double-digits in the category. She also recorded 19 digs, making this her fourth double-double of the year. The Cougars’ defense held Point Loma to a .000 attacking percentage and as many kills as errors in the match with 24. APU also served well, establishing control throughout the match.

“I thought we did well for the majority of the match tonight,” head coach Chris Keife said. “I thought we defended well and we served well. That was where we really struggled last time. On top of that, I know [Point] Loma is dealing with a pretty significant injury and you can see it a little bit on their side tonight, so they weren’t the same team we faced down at their [place], but our team performed when we needed to perform tonight.”

The Cougars were swept by the Sea Lions in their Oct. 3 matchup at Point Loma but returned the favor at home this weekend.

“We’re comfortable here, we perform well here, and it’s always nice to be home,” Keife said. “It’s tough being on the road for so long and playing all those matches. It was a good opportunity for us.”

The victory prevented the Cougars from experiencing back-to-back losses for the second time this season. After giving up the 2-1 lead to lose at California Baptist on Thursday, they returned home late that night and had a short practice on Friday. Despite the small amount of time to prepare, the Cougars were able to put the Cal Baptist match behind them and focus only on the Sea Lions.

“We took it one game at a time and one point at a time and just focused on who was in front of us tonight, which was Loma,” Keife said. “It started with our serving. I thought we served pretty well to knock them a little out of rhythm, which is going to help our blocking and our defense overall. Both of our outsides did well … got a lot of good digs, and we were able to score off of that as well.”

With the win, the Cougars improve to a 15-7 overall record and an 8-5 conference record. Their next match is a non-conference home matchup against the La Sierra Golden Eagles (19-7, 10-1).The match is set to start at 6 p.m.