SAN DIEGO, CA – Hope International traveled south to San Diego on Saturday, Sept. 23 to face the San Diego Christian Hawks as part of a four-game road trip and came away victorious in straight sets. The Royals have now won five straight, including four wins against GSAC teams, and will finish their road stint with a match at The Master's next Thursday.
Katie Landazuri led all players with 15 kills against the Hawks and is edging ever-closer to breaking the all-time kills record for HIU, while Kierra Pearson was close behind with 11 kills of her own.
The Royals wasted little time in taking control with a 5-0 run to start the first set. The Royals would rip off three separate runs of 5-0 against SDC in the opening frame behind the serves of Jessica Zieg, Natalie Hadder, and Shea Beeman. HIU led by as much as 13 at two different times on their way to an easy 25-12 win in the first set. Landazuri registered seven of her 15 kills in the opener to power the offense.
The second set was more competitive as the Hawks made fewer errors and HIU committed a few more on its side – the Royals were able to pull away after the first few points, however, and worked their way to a 10-15 lead midway through the second set. While SDC did a better job of siding out against HIU and limited the Royals' long scoring runs, HIU was still able to take the second set with a 25-17 final.
The third stanza started much like the second for HIU with more fight offered by the Hawks, but the Royals once again pulled away after the early exchanges and built a 12-7 lead midway through the final set. Beeman was able to keep the Hawks off-balance once again in the third set with her serves and the Royals ripped off a 6-0 run in the latter stages to clinch the sweep with a 25-13 final.
In addition to Landazuri and Pearson's effort at the pins, HIU got a combined 11 kills from its middle blockers with seven from Breanna Kirklen and four from Maddy Barrett. Jessica Zieg fed her teammates 36 assists and also tallied six digs and two aces, while Beeman (16 digs) and Anna Stevenson (10 digs) took control of the back line for HIU. Barrett and Kirklen also led HIU at the net with a combined seven block assists.
The Royals improve to 11-4 overall this season and are 4-1 in GSAC play after their win against SDC, while the Hawks fall to 5-9 overall and are still searching for their first conference win after five attempts. HIU will put its five-win streak to the test against The Master's on Thursday, Sept. 28 in Santa Clarita while SDC travels north to face William Jessup and Menlo.
Landazuri eclipsed 1100 kills on the Royals' Arizona roadtrip and is 26 kills shy of claiming the all-time lead with 1157 in her career … Beeman moved into third on the all-time digs list for HIU and sits 177 out of second place with 11 matches remaining in the regular season … Zieg is 68 assists away from taking over the fifth spot on the all-time list for HIU and is only 237 shy of climbing all the way to third at 1443 career assists.