AZUSA, CA – The Cougar volleyball team’s quest for a third consecutive PacWest title started off well with a four-set victory over the Academy of Art (24-26, 25-16, 25-17, 25-18) Friday night inside the Felix. Events center. Katarina Radish led the way with 19 wins as Annaka jorgenson added in 16 of hers.
How did it happen: The first set was all about competition, with neither team leading by more than four points at any given time. Academy of Art used a 6-1 run to take the late lead, only to see the Cougars respond with a 7-2 run to regain the 23-22 lead. From there, Urban Knights’ Isaura Santos took over with four wins to take the lead. A typo by the Cougars gave Academy of Art a final margin of 26-24.
After allowing 19 kills in the first set, the Cougars roared out of the gate in the second, opening the set with an 11-4 run and never lagging at any point. Radisic had four kills in the set to help build a lead that would reach up to 12 points at 23-11. The Cougars would record 14 kills against just two errors in the set, even shooting into the game with a 25-16 win.
The Cougars would never lag at any point in the third set, either. Radisic was again decisive, registering six kills and two serving aces in the set. The Cougars reached 0.455 as a team in the set, racking up 18 kills against three errors out of just 33 total kills in the frame. Jorgenson’s fourth kill of set won the deciding point to give the Cougars a two-set-to-one lead.
Academy of Art opened the fourth set on a brief 4-1 streak in an attempt to force a fifth winner, but the Cougars fought back with five straight runs, including two of Jorgenson’s seven kills in the final quarter. With the set tied at 9-9, Radisic pulled off his own back-to-back wins to put Azusa Pacific in the lead in earnest, and the Cougars would gain six of the last seven points to pull away for the win.
In numbers : Radisic and Jorgenson each had doubles-doubles, finishing with 12 and 16 digs, respectively. Radisic also added four aces to serve. The Cougars reached 0.355 as a team for the game, while keeping the Urban Knights at 0.188 percentage points. Kyra Palm Tree added in 10 kills and factored into five of the team’s six blocks in the evening. Bailey Hennington had 21 defensive digs, giving him 2,186 for his career, which is the second-biggest in program history behind Robin Portela, who totaled 2,318 from 2008 to 2011.
Following: The Cougars (6-3, 1-0 PacWest) will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, when they host Fresno Pacific at the Felix Event Center. The game can be streamed live by clicking here, and live stats will be available at this link.
POST-GAME INTERVIEW – ANNAKA JORGENSON & KATARINA RADISIC