No. 15 Tigers Snap Streak To Down No. 9 Long Beach State
Long Beach, Calif. – The No. 15 Pacific men's volleyball team concluded its short road trip with a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match against No. 9 Long Beach State on Saturday, February 11. Despite falling in the first frame, the Tigers showed their resilience to take the match 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-19).
The match victory snapped Pacific's nine-game losing streak to LBSU and improved the Tigers to 4-8 (2-5 MPSF). The contest dropped the 49ers to 5-6 (1-5 MPSF).
Despite numerous attempted comebacks, the Tigers could not rally from an eight-point deficit in the first game against LBSU. Pacific would bring the score within three late in the opening frame, but eventually fell 25-19. As a team, Pacific hit .308 in the set, compared to the 49ers .375. The Tigers defense was led by seniors Gornik and Daley, who finished the game with four and three blocks, respectively. Gornik would finish the match with six blocks, including one solo.
Then, the Tigers battled to a 25-21 second set win, behind a team hitting percentage of .400. In the game, Pacific rushed out to an early 13-9 advantage, but the 49ers would rally to tie the score at 15. The knotted score forced a head coach Joe Wortmann timeout. Out of the break, the Tigers would grab two quick points and never look back. The deciding score came off a 49ers service error. Gornik and Hughes each tallied five kills in the frame.
The third set was a back and forth battle between the two squads. After trading points to bring the score to 20 all, the Tigers would rally for back-to-back kills to take control of the frame. Pacific would eventually take the set 25-23 behind junior setter Patrick Tunnell's 14 assists. He would finish the match with 46 dimes and seven digs.
For the second straight night the Tigers faced a fourth set with a chance to finish the match, and this time they took seized the opportunity, winning 25-19. The Orange and Black trailed early 9-6, but a six-nil run by the Tigers gave them command of the set. Leading the Tigers in the frame was Gornik with eight kills and Daley with two blocks. The match point came on a huge solo block from senior Dylan Walker.
Leading the 49ers was Taylor Crabb and Jim Baughman, combining for 27 kills. Jeff Ornee added four bocks for the LBSU defense.
Junior Taylor Hughes and Daley added 12 and 10 kills, respectively. While, sophomore libero Javier Caceres would tack on eight digs in the match, and true freshman Tommy Carmody added a career-high four kills and three blocks.
Wortmann was enthused with his team's performance saying, "We played well, passed great and showed resilience after the tough battle last night." He added, "it was excellent to see such a strong match from Patrick [Tunnell] and Florian [Gornik]."
Pacific will continue its southern swing with back-to-back MPSF matches against UC San Diego and UC Irvine on February 17 and 18.