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Winning in Familiar Fashion – Azusa Pacific University Athletics

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DENVER, Colo. – Azusa Pacific opened its final day of competition at the Premier Challenge with a straight-set sweep of Central Missouri, which gives the Cougars a 4-3 overall record on the season.

Katarina Radisic turned in an efficient offensive performance, as the outside hitter finished with 13 kills on 27 attempts with a hitting percentage of 44%. Annaka Jorgenson also reached double digits in kills, tallying 12. Aubrea Banfield racked up a season-high 28 assists, and she scored four points for the Cougars by way of service aces. Defensively, Radisic and Selena Balderas led the Cougars in digs with 15 apiece, while Kyra Palmbush and Jaela Bernard each recorded a solo block and two block assists.

How It Happened: The first set saw seven ties and a handful of lead changes, but in the end, it was the Cougars that seized early control of the match. Azusa Pacific held a slim 19-18 advantage when a Jennies service error marked the start of a 6-1 run that would earn the Cougars a 25-19 opening set win. Radisic scored three of the six points during the stretch.

Trailing by an 11-9 score in the second, Azusa Pacific would take eight unanswered points to flip the set and surge ahead 17-11. Once again, Radisic was at the center of the Cougar run, as she tallied three more kills during the segment. A few moments later, the Cougars would go on another unanswered streak, as Azusa Pacific grew a 19-13 lead into a 24-13 set point situation. After the Jennies got a point back, Jorgenson clinched the set with a kill for a 25-14 win.

Azusa Pacific closed the match out by jumping ahead 4-0 in the third set, and the Cougars would maintain a lead throughout. While the Jennies were able to hang around and keep it close, Azusa Pacific would keep the cushion at two or more points. With the score 23-20, Jorgenson would seal the deal for the Cougars, as she was able to put down back-to-back kills for the 24th and 25th points of the set.

By The Numbers: The Cougars turned in their second-highest hitting percentage of the campaign, as they finished at 31% (44 kills on 105 attempts with 11 errors). At the net, Azusa Pacific matched its season-high of six total blocks for the fourth time this season. With the Cougars’ 3-0 win this morning, Azusa Pacific has now claimed each of its first four victories of the season in straight-set fashion, which is the first time for the program since the 2010 season.

Up Next: The Cougars will wrap up the Premier Challenge with a match this afternoon at 5:00 pm MT (4:00 pm PT) against Lewis. The match will be for first place in the Bronze bracket. For a detailed look at the current bracket, visit the Tournament Central page.

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