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By HPU Athletics. October 22, 2014 - 9:49 am
The Hawai’i Pacific Volleyball Team (9-8, 7-4) battled back after losing the first two sets to beat Azusa Pacific (11-8, 7-3) in five sets (20-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-5).
HPU fans took a page from USA Soccer fans and started chanting, “I believe that we will win” in the third set when the Sharks were down two sets to zero. At the time it seemed unlikely, but credit HPU as it made the plays. By the fifth set, the chant rained down from the near capacity crowd and it didn’t take a leap of faith to see that HPU was going to win.
Although the match had its dramatic moments, the fifth set was pretty tame. HPU kept the momentum after winning back-to-back sets and seized control with a 5-0 lead to start. APU took the next two points but the subsequent three went to HPU and the route was on.
The fourth set was hotly contested throughout, featuring eight ties and three lead changes. APU led 19-17 and was looking to put away the win, but HPU stormed back with a 5-0 run on some hot passing from Marie Fujii. The Cougars snapped the run only to see HPU score the next three points to earn the win.
After looking as overmatched as they have all season in the first two sets, HPU came out with a vengeance in the third set. The Sharks, with Fujii at the controls, caught fire and took a commanding 9-0 lead. APU never fully recovered in the set, or the rest of the night.
It was a total team effort as 12 Sharks made contributions. Elizabeth Culpepper led the way with 16 kills, close behind was Kasey Thompson with 14 (.310 hitting percentage) and Pomai Recca with 15. Fujii led the team with 31 assists as Amanda Moriarty was tops on the team with 13 digs. Kara Wong added 12 digs and provided a spark off the HPU bench.
HPU next welcomes Holy Names to St. Andrew’s Priory tomorrow at 7:00 p.m.
Photo by Eric Alcantara.