A sweep for sweep

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Sophomore outside hitter Mattie Shelford launches the ball over the net in the sweep against BYU-Hawaii Thursday night.
Courtesy: Holly Magnuson

The Azusa Pacific women’s volleyball team came back from Thursday’s loss to the fourth nationally ranked team, BYU-Hawaii, sweeping Hawaii Hilo on Friday night in the second of a three-game home series against conference opponents from Hawaii.

“I felt that we played similar tonight as we did last night,” head coach Chris Keife said on Friday. “We just faced BYU who is hot and who is doing a great job, and tonight I thought we played really well about 80 percent of the time tonight and we can still clean it up going in to tomorrow’s match too.”

The Cougars defeated Hawaii Hilo in straight sets (25-2-, 25-20, 25-22) after falling to the Vulcans in a five-set match earlier this season on Oct. 16.

“We knew we shouldn’t have lost to Hilo the last time, and so we just came out and we made sure that we stayed really positive on the court,” said senior middle blocker Christy Cain. “We kept the ball in play and we executed the way we should have. There were times when we gave them a few runs, but our goal was to not let them have more than two points at a time.”

The Cougars held Hawaii Hilo to a .171 attacking percentage, allowing only freshman outside-hitter Marley Strand-Nicolaisen and freshman outside hitter Kyndra Trevino-Scott to register double figure kills with 10 apiece.

“I thought we defended better this match than we did against them last time,” said Keife. “I know when we played them in Hawaii we struggled with serving and we struggled blocking wise, so we did a much better job defending and blocking some of their better attackers tonight.”

While the Vulcans out blocked the Cougars, Azusa Pacific concluded the match up with a .246 attacking percentage. Cain tallied a match-high of 13 kills, followed by sophomore outside hitter Mattie Shelford who added 12. Junior outside hitter Alicia Utke registered three kills and 15 digs, while sophomore outside hitter Joy Reinke tabbed five kills and 11 digs. Freshman middle blocker Ashley Midland finished the night with seven kills.

“Our middles did a nice job,” said Keife. “Ashley Midland did a nice job coming off the bench and then Christy again did another nice job. On top of that we had Maddie who was scoring and doing a good job. We had three girls step up and hit for a high percentage and that helped us get over that edge.”

Azusa Pacific will close its home schedule Saturday for Senior Day against Chaminade, who the Cougars defeated 3-1 in a road match on Oct. 19. Azusa Pacific will then hit the road to wrap up their regular season in a three-match series against Notre Dame de Namur, Holy Names and Dominican before competing in the NCCAA regionals.

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