Sea Lions Volleyball Outshines Rival APU To Close Out #BeatAPU Week

Photo Credits: Evan Olbricht

Tuesday night’s rivalry match held at Golden Gymnasium swung in favor of the Point Loma Nazarene University Sea Lions, finishing with a final score of 3-1 for the match to secure PLNU’s sweep of Azusa Pacific University (APU) during rivalry week. 

Star players third-year outside hitter Abigail Nua and fourth-year business administration major middle blocker Anna Massari dominated the match, aiding in the team’s victory to remain undefeated in conference and move the team’s record to 10-4 overall on the season. 

In the back and forth events of set one, PLNU and APU endured an intense rally that put early momentum up for grabs. The points, ultimately in favor of the Sea Lions, gave the squad a 14-10 lead, propelling them to an early one-set lead. 

Fifth-year marketing major and opposite hitter Claire Smith had a big first set for the Sea Lions with a total of five kills and two blocks that helped set the tone. 

Momentum soon shifted to the opposing Cougars throughout the second set as the Sea Lions found themselves down 15-19 heading into the end of set two. A four-point swing started by Nua, who totaled 17 kills in the match, brought the score to an even 19-19, before PLNU ended up dropping the close set 25-27. 

“We just needed to stay present,” said Head Coach Jonathan Scott. “It’s really easy to let your mind wander to the last couple plays. APU is a good team. We battle with them every single time we play. We needed to battle for the point at hand.”

The Sea Lions caught fire to open the third set, gaining a 10-4 lead over APU. PLNU’s dominant performance continued all the way through the third set, reaching, at its peak, a nine-point lead for a final score of 25-16. 

PLNU’s Massari took the game into her own hands during the third set, accumulating 19 kills and 5 blocks on the match, coming just one kill shy of her career record. 

“I was trying not to think about it. I was just having fun with the girls, trying to get the job done,” said Massari. 

The white-out Sea Lion crowd became a factor heading into a match-deciding set. Another back and forth start to the critical fourth set had the score 8-7 in favor of the Sea Lions. Both sides fought for momentum to aid them to victory. The roaring crowd behind the Sea Lions was effective in securing and maintaining this critical momentum that kept the Sea Lions in front the entire fourth set. 

“We love how involved our student section is. We love when people come to watch us play,” said Massari. “It definitely makes an impact, even just the noise level is exciting. It helps us get the job done.”

Match standouts Nua and Massari took advantage of the crowd’s energy as they came up with multiple back-to-back kills coming from the back row late in the final set. 

“Most of the blockers jumped up with Anna, so she pretty much gave me an open net,” said Nua. “Our centers ran our offense so well that all of our hitters got equal opportunities.”

Last Tuesday night’s victory over APU marks the Sea Lions tenth win of the season. Scott stressed the importance of physical and mental preparation before their upcoming late-season matches. Preparation and rest have been the priorities for the team. 

“We need to rest,” said Scott. “We need to get good sleep, and make sure their bodies and their minds are ready to go.”