Tigers Rally for Five-Set Win Over Rice
Honolulu, Hawaii – The Pacific women's volleyball team denied a comeback attempt by Rice, as the Tigers received a career-high day from freshman Gillian Howard and senior Samathan Misa posted a match-high 25 kills to help Pacific to a 3-2 win over the Owls Saturday.
The Tigers wrapped the Verizon Volleyball Challenge by winning 25-21, 25-22, 25-27, 25-27, 15-11.
Howard, who'd appeared in one set before the tournament, broke out with a 17-kill, three-block and four-ace performance. The freshman middle blocker hit .424 for the match with just three errors on 33 attempts.
Misa followed up her 17-kill performance Friday with 25 on Saturday, and added 10 digs as the Tigers improved to 6-3 on the season.
Jennifer Sanders chipped in 16 kills on 40 attempts against just four errors for a .300 percentage.
Five Tigers were in double-figure digs, paced by senior libero Rebekah Torres with 25, one off her career high. Setter Hannah Clancy added 17 digs to go with her 55 assists, while Gabby Cowden shattered her career high in digs with 17, topping her previous best of seven. Defensive specialist Koala Matsuoka was the fourth Tiger in double-figures with 14 digs, a Pacific-high for the sophomore.
The Tigers opened with a 25-22 win in set one, pulling away in a set tied 17-17 with six of the next nine points. Clancy and Sanders teamed for a block to set up set point, and an attack error by the Owls gave the Tigers the 1-0 lead.
In set two, Pacific led throughout. The Owls were within one at 17-16, but the Tigers posted kills from Misa and Howard to seize control. Sanders closed out the set with a kill for the 25-21 victory.
The Owls battled back in set three, however, battling back from down 11-7 to tie the set at 17-17. The set featured 10 ties after that as the two teams battled back and forth. The Tigers avoided set point at 24-23 and 25-24 with a pair of kills from Misa, but the Owls took the set on a block by Nancy Cole and Laurie McNamara, and a Pacific error to force set four.
In the fourth set, the Tigers led by five at 17-12, but the Owls reeled off six of the next eight points to cut the margin to 20-18. Sanders posted a pair of kills as the Tigers took match point again at 24-21, but the Owls refused to go quietly, as Mariah Riddlesprigger tallied back-to-back kills, and an error on Pacific knotted the set at 24-all.
Siga Appelgate came off the bench for the Tigers to record two kills, but McNamara and the Owls forced a decisive set five.
Pacific never trailed in the final set, as Misa, Howard and Clancy staked the Tigers out to a 5-1 lead. Rice narrowed the margin to 9-8, but Howard and Sanders recorded back-to-back kills, Megan Birch added another, and then with the Tigers up 13-11, it was Sanders slamming home an overpass and recording the game-winner.
Rice was led by 21 kills from Lizzy Bache, while Riddlesprigger and Cole each added 12.
The All-Tournament Team will be announced following Cincinnati vs Hawaii, which begins at 10 p.m. PT
Pacific will return to the Alex G. Spanos Center to host the Hilton Stockton Invitation, Sept. 15 through 17, with the Tigers facing San Jose State on the 15th, Loyola Marymount on the 16th and CSU Bakersfield on the 17th, with all three matches at 7 p.m.