Tigers Take Match To Five, But Fall To The Waves
Malibu, Calif. – Sean Daley moved into first place for career block solos in Pacific history, but the Tigers fell in five sets (25-20, 25-23, 25-16, 15-12) to the Waves of Pepperdine in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match on March 31. The loss dropped No. 11 Pacific to 7-16 (4-13 MPSF), and improved No. 7 Pepperdine to 13-11 (8-10 MPSF).
Leading the Orange and Black on the night was the senior Daley, who added three block solos on the night to total 71 in his historic career. The Tigers also saw great nights from senior Florian Gornik (18 kills), junior Taylor Hughes (17 kills) and junior Matthew Houlihan (15 kills).
The Tigers and Waves played to an 11-all tie to start the match, but a 6-1 run would give Pacific the set lead, and the Tigers would never look back. The 25-20 game victory came behind three total blocks from Daley and 13 assists by junior setter Patrick Tunnell. The setter's outstanding performance benefited Christian Ahlin and Hughes, who each collected a team-high four kills in the frame. Florian Gornik added three kills, while Houlihan, Daley and Tunnell each added two point-finishers. The evenly distributed kills led to the Tigers hitting .448 as a team to open the game.
The second set was more of a struggle between the two squads as they battled to a 21-all tie before Pepperdine would seize control of the game. The Waves would take the set despite six kills on 11 swings from Hughes. Tunnell collected another 15 assists in the set.
Pacific fell behind early in the third frame and could not match the Waves in the set to fall 25-16. Houlihan led the Tigers in the set with four kills on six swings, but it was not enough the overcome the Waves attack.
Facing the end of the match, the Tigers showed their resilience to take the fourth game 29-27 behind six kills each from Houlihan and Gornik. Daley and Ahlin would also combine for eight blocks in the set to keep the Tigers chances alive. Pacific and Pepperdine would have 22-ties in the game before the Tigers would finally gain control at the end of the frame.
The final set was a back and forth fight, but the Waves ended victorious 15-12. The Tigers were led by three kills each from Hughes and Gornik. Also, sophomore libero Javier Caceres collected four of his 10 digs in the final set.
Pepperdine was led by Maurice Torres' 23 kills, while hitting .326 and Chase Ross' 14 kills to hit .286.
The Tigers continue play next week as they travel to Stanford on April 3 for another MPSF matchup beginning at 7:00 p.m.