FULLERTON, CA – Hope International hosted the University of Saint Katherine on Wednesday, Oct. 11, in its final non-conference match of the 2017 regular season. For the second time in as many meetings, Hope International defeated Saint Katherine in straight sets behind the strong play of Camryn Rowell.
The Royals got off to a great start in set one as Rowell came off the bench and promptly piled up kills. USK helped HIU out to an early lead with several attack errors that helped the Royals, and HIU sided out at 100% in the set – a perfect nine of nine – en route to a 25-9 final in set one.
Set two was more competitive in the early stages as the Firebirds were able to hang with HIU until the Royals broke a 7-7 tie with a USK attack error and a service ace from Jessica Zieg (SR/Carlsbad, CA). The Royals pulled away afterward and finished the set on an 18-9 run for a 25-16 final in the second stanza.
In the third set, the Royals leapt out to an early 13-8 lead against USK and coasted to the finish line with strong play from several players off the bench. Coach Walker progressively opened up her rotation throughout the evening and her role players delivered in the final outing of the evening with another 25-16 final to wrap up the win in straight sets.
Rowell led all players with nine kills on the night and hit .571 while playing at both pins. Teammates Kierra Pearson (SO/Huntington Beach, CA) and Mikayla Derieg (SR/Yorba Linda, CA) close behind tallying seven kills each. Zieg dished out 17 assists and Shea Beeman (SR/Hurst, TX) tallied 14 for HIU. Beeman led with eight digs and Zieg tallied a pair of aces from the line. At the net, Maddy Barrett (JR/Fullerton, CA) and Pearson added four blocks each to lead the Royals.
"Having a bye week is always interesting because we're only playing ourselves, so this was a great match for us to get our feet wet again and shake the rust off," Coach Jessica Walker said after the win. "We're so lucky to have depth as a coaching staff, to have players that…have put in the work and [know we can rely on them]," Coach Walker continued on to say afterward.
Prior to the match, HIU Athletics honored Katie Landazuri (SR/Temecula, CA) for her career achievements with a ceremony celebrating Landazuri's record-breaking performance against Westmont. Landazuri's 12 kills on Sept. 30 made her the all-time leader for HIU with 1160 on the night – now 1165 – in her career at HIU.
"It was a great night for Katie, we're so proud of her for what she's done for herself and for the program to come out day after day and keeping chugging away," Coach Walker said of the achievement and the pre-game celebration.
HIU is now 12-6 in their 2017 campaign, equaling the best performance by any Walker-led outfit at HIU, and will return to GSAC play for the remainder of the regular season. HIU hosts Vanguard and The Master's to start the second half of GSAC play before playing three on the road at Westmont, Menlo, and William Jessup. The Royals will finish up the regular season at home with matches against Arizona Christian and San Diego Christian as they look to clinch a high seed in the first-ever GSAC Tournament this November at TMU.