Riverside, CA- Hope International busted into the win column with two neutral court wins on Thursday at the La Sierra Invitational.  Freshman Katie Landazuri paced the Royals with 23 kills and 22 digs on the day.

In their first match, Hope International faced off with the University of Montana Western.  In the opening set, the Royals (2-4) opened with a 2-0 lead before allowing the Bulldogs to tie the set at 4-4.  But a service error from Montana Western and two straight kills from junior Cassie Pugh gave Hope International a 7-4 advantage.  They would not allow even another tie in the set and won 25-17.

Landazuri and Pugh both had five kills in the first set.

Set two was much closer until the end when the Royals held off the Bulldogs for the 25-23 win.

Hope International returned to dominant form and controlled the third set from beginning to end with a 25-15 win and ultimately a match victory.

The freshmen combo of Landazuri and Alexa Basauri delivered impressive matches respectively with 12 kills and then 8 kills with no errors on .539 hitting.  Senior Nikki Bradbury and Pugh both also hammered out eight kills in the match.

Senior Stephanie Dounseroux gave out 34 assists in the opener.

Defensively, Landazuri produced 14 digs while junior Samantha Marquez recorded 13 digs of her own.

The afternoon contest pitted Hope International against their GSAC rival San Diego Christian in a non-GSAC match.  The Hawks opened the match with a kill but the Royals responded with three straight kills- one each from Landazuri, Bradbury, and Senior Summer Mitchell- for a 3-1 edge.  San Diego Christian came as close as 7-4.  However, Hope International took no-doubt-about-it control of the set with a 7-0 run.  From the 7-4 score, the Royals outscored the Hawks 18-7 to finish the set with a 25-11 win.

The tandem of Landazuri (six kills) and Bradbury (5 kills) combined for as many kills for the Royals as the Hawks had total points in the set.  Hope International hit .517 in the set as a team.

San Diego Christian, however, rebounded in the second set and outhit Hope International .440 to .200 to take the set win 25-17.

The Hawks took an early lead of 5-2 in the third set.  The Royals answered with a 9-0 run to move ahead for good in the set.   The set ended with Hope International on top 25-14.

In the fourth set, Hope International came out swinging and ready to put an end to the match as they buried 16 kills on just 23 attempts with two errors as they impressed with a .609 hitting set.  The fourth set score was a ten point spread of 25-15.

Four Royals concluded the match in double digit kills - Bradbury topped with a career high 14 kills, Mitchell put away 13 kills, and Pugh and Landazuri both delivered 11 kills.

Dounseroux spread the wealth around as she earned 48 assists.

For San Diego Christian, Lauren Phillips put away a match high 19 kills.

Marquez was all over the court as she recorded 21 digs.

The Royals return to La Sierra's gym in Riverside for two more matches on Friday.  They open against Johnson & Wales (CO) at noon before finishing with host La Sierra at 4:00 pm.  The Hawks will play at 8:00 am against Johnson & Wales (CO) and Montana-Western at 2:00 pm.