Volleyball Preview

| September 21, 2012

This weekend will push the limits of the Lady Cougars of the Azusa Pacific Volleyball team and will serve as a barometer of the teams aptitude in the NCAA. Facing two new opponents in the Urban Knights of The Academy of Art University, and the Argonauts of Notre Dame de Namur University, the Cougars greatest test will be against former NAIA rivals Fresno Pacific University on Saturday afternoon.

The first match of the weekend comes against Art U on Friday night at 7 p.m. The Urban Knights started the season off well at 2-0, but have lost seven of the last eight matches, four of those losses being sweeps. The program did however scrape out a big win against Dixie State, showing the Pac West they are not to be counted out. Rachael Smith, the 5-11 freshmen setter leads the team with an impressive 8.7 assists per set, considering the team’s attack percentage hovers at .130, and Head Coach Ed Jackson is widely renown as a recruiter and has lead teams at William & Mary and Fresno State, having players on both teams win national honors. The future looks bright for the Urban Knights, on the shoulders of a smart coach and young talent, the Cougars will need to play well against them Friday Night.

Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m., the Cougars host the Sunbirds of Fresno Pacific, who have historically dominated the Cougars, leading the series history 63-4. The Cougars last year did upset the Sunbirds in a commanding 3-1 win last year in October. The Cougars relied heavily on the Seniors Whittany Radcliffe and Amy Alkazin. Radcliffe lead the match with 21 kills and a .465 hitting percentage, and Alkazin notched 12 kills and 15 digs. Also Robin Portela claimed a match high 21 digs and Raechel Jones registered 26 assists with 13 digs.

Without the experience and talent the Cougars held last season, Saturday’s match will be the greatest test the program has faced yet. The Sunbirds have only lost 10 sets so far this season, losing only one match to Seattle Pacific. Perhaps the greatest Sunbird victory to date came against Grand Canyon in a surprising 3-0 sweep against the former #12 ranked program, a match leading the polls in “Most Looked Forward to Game” with over a quarter of voters excited for the matchup.

APU will have their hands full this weekend, and you can listen to it all live, here at kapuradio.com

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John Castorina has been designing and programming websites for over five years. He is an expert with Photoshop, CSS3 and HTML 5 and is fast becoming a WordPress and PHP guru. John holds a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts.

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