Champions Again, Pacific Repeats As Bankers Classic Champs With A 3-0 Win Over Duquesne
Stockton, Calif - For the second consecutive season the Pacific women's volleyball team claimed the Community Bankers Classic title, this time winning the 33rd edition with a 3-0 sweep of Duquesne on Saturday, September 3. The win was Pacific's third sweep of the tournament as the Tigers moved to 6-1 on the year while Duquesne fell to 1-2 at the tournament and 5-2 on the year.
Game scores for the match were: 25-13, 25-19, 30-28.
Led by the tournament's MVP, sophomore Megan Birch, the Tigers started fast and never looked back against the second place Dukes, rolling over Duquesne in the first game before grinding down their opponents to finish the match. As she did to open the tournament the previous night, Birch led the Tigers' offensively with yet another career night as the sophomore outside hitter put down 17 kills on 34 attacks to hit .382 against Duquesne.
For Birch, the night started fast as she tallied five kills on just six swings in game one as Pacific charged out of the gates with a dominating 12 point victory. Remarkably in the game, the Dukes hung with the Tigers through the first 20 points, even taking a two point lead at 10-8, before Pacific went on a 17-3 run to run away with the game. As a team, the Tigers' had their best hitting performance in the first frame as the team hit .419 (15 kills, two errors, 31 attacks) while holding the Dukes to just a .031 hitting percentage (eight kills, seven errors, 32 attacks).
Finding a much different way to win in game two, the Tigers had to overcome an ugly hitting performance that saw the team hitting percentage drop over .300 points as Pacific hit just .065 in the game. Despite the sudden struggles, the Tigers persevered and upended the Dukes with a 9-4 run to close out the game. Pacific's trio of sophomores led the Tigers out of the dark in game two as Birch, along with Jennifer Sanders and Siga Appelgate combined to post 11 of the team's 13 kills. Additionally, the Tigers' achilles heel for much of the early part of the season, serving, became their strength in game two as Pacific posted four service aces including picking up three from junior Gabby Cowden. Cowden would finish with a career-high five aces in the match while Pacific would pick up eight total.
With their second-straight Bankers title there for the taking in game three, the Tigers ratcheted back up their offensive attack with Birch again leading the way. However, the road to the crown woud not be an easy one in the final game of the night as Duquesne came out swinging looking to extend the match. Both teams hit well in the third and final game as Pacific tallied a .308 hitting percentage while Duquesne tried to answer with a .298 clip. With both teams looking to close out the game, Pacific fought off a game point at 24-23 while Duquesne fought off four match points before the Tigers to put the finishing touches on their victory. Just as they did a year prior, Pacific ended the Bankers Classic with an emphatic block of the competition as juniors Hannah Clancy and Cowden combined to wall off the final point.
Overall, Birch finished her night with eight kills in the final game, nearly doubling her match total in just one game. The sophomore ended the tournament with 40 kills to lead all attackers as she hit .367 overall. Joining Birch on the all-tournament team was Sanders and Clancy with Clancy earning her second-straight all-tournament award. Sanders finished her night with eight kills and her tournament with 30 while Clancy posted her second double-double of the weekend with 45 assists and 10 digs.
For the Dukes, Allison Foschia posted 11 kills in the match while earning all-tournament honors. In addition to Foschia, Sara Scheirman was named to the all-tournament team after posting eight kills and 11 digs in the final match of the night.
For the Tigers, they will be back on the court on Thursday, September 8 when they head to Honolulu, Hawaii to take part in the Verizon Wireless Volleyball Challenge hosted by Hawai'i. Pacific will begin its tournament with a tilt against Cincinnati beginning at 8:00 pm PST.
MVP - Megan Birch (Pacific)
Jennifer Sanders (Pacific)
Hannah Clancy (Pacific)
Allison Foschia (Duquesne)
Sara Scheirman (Duquesne)
Rachel Willis (Army)
Caitlin Rance (Mississippi State)
1st - Pacific
2nd - Duquesne
3rd - Army
4th - Mississippi State