Sophomores Lead Pacific To A Sweep Of Mississippi State
Stockton, Calif. - Beginning their defense of the Community Bankers Classic crown, the Pacific women's volleyball team swept their opening match of the 33rd edition of the tournament on Friday, September 2, beating Mississippi State, 3-0. The win was the Tigers' fourth of the season as they improved to 4-1 on the year while the Bulldogs fell to 1-3.
Game scores for the match were: 25-22, 25-23, 25-19.
Looking to get back on track after suffering their first loss of the season the night prior, the Tigers rallied back to pick up their first home win of the season to put themselves in the win column at the classic. Even with the sweep of the Bulldogs, however, the night was not all fun and games for the Tigers as they needed late runs in each of the first two games to put Mississippi State behind before cruising in game three to take the win.
In each of the first two games of the nightcap, the Tigers reversed a late 18-16 deficit to capture the games and with it a commanding 2-0 lead. In game one, Pacific used a final 9-4 run, including scoring four of the final five points of the frame against the Bulldogs, to secure the win. Looking for a balanced attack, the Tigers picked up kills from four different attackers throughout the final stretch of the game with two coming from sophomore Jennifer Sanders and a final shot coming from sophomore Megan Birch, who led the way with five kills in the game.
Again down 18-16 in the second game after the Bulldogs used a 6-0 run to erase a four point Tiger lead, Pacific rallied back on the shoulders of Sanders and Birch as the duo posted five of the Tigers' final six kills in the game. For Birch, the sophomore finshed the opening two games of the night with nine kills and no errors on 15 attacks as she closed in on a career night.
That career performance would come to fruition in the game three when Birch tagged the Bulldogs for five more kills en route to a match-high, and career-best, 14 kills while the Tigers posted a .316 team hitting percentage to close out Mississippi State. The sophomore finished with just one error at the net in 23 attacks to post a career-high .565 hitting percentage. Not to be outdone, Sanders ended her evening with 14 kills as well. Equally as impressive, Sanders missed on just one attack, an error in game one, to finish with a .591 hitting percentage. She also added a team-best four blocks.
With the sophomores stealing the show, the Tigers' captains quietly put together another solid outing. Senior Samantha Misa posted 10 kills and just one error in 26 attacks while adding six digs. Her fellow senior, Rebekah Torres, tallied a match-high 15 digs while junior Hannah Clancy added 44 assists and nine digs, one dig shy of her third double-double of the season.
On the other side of the net, Caitlin Rance posted 12 kills on 33 swings while hitting .242 for the Bulldogs. She also added seven digs, one ace and one block to Mississippi State's cause. No other Bulldog attack reached double-digits in kills as Mississippi State hit .210 to Pacific's .313 in the match.
Earlier in the evening Army defeated Duquesne in a marathon five-game match to pick up their fourth win of the season.
The 33rd Annual Community Bankers Classic will continue on Saturday, September 3 with four matches, the first beginning at 10:00 am as Duquesne takes on Mississippi State. The Tigers will face off against Army at 12:00 pm as both teams look to put themselves in the drivers seat for the 2011 crown.