Tigers Rebound With A 3-0 Sweep Of LMU
Stockton, Calif. - Rebounding from a rough start to their 2011 Hilton Stockton Invitational, the Pacific women's volleyball team rallied back with a 3-0 sweep of Loyola Marymount (LMU) on Friday, September 16 to get into the win column at the tournament. The win moved the Tigers to 8-4 on the year and 1-1 at the invitational while the Lions fell to 5-6 overall and 0-2 at the Spanos Center.
Game scores for the match were: 25-22, 25-22, 25-13.
A night after suffering a tough opening loss to San Jose State, the Tigers got back on track against the Lions in front of their home crowd. Behind a stellar night from sophomore Jennifer Sanders, the Tigers turned around their fortunes in the middle and with it their momentum at the invitational. For the night, Sanders was nearly perfect as she posted 10 kills in 18 swings and committed just one error, the one of which came late in the match as the Tigers pulled away from the Lions. In addition to refinding her offensive groove, the sophomore led Pacific's defensive efforts at the net with a season-best six blocks, one short of her career high of seven.
Opening the match with their sites set on getting back to their winning ways, the Tigers needed some time to find their rhythm as the Lions, who had lost in three to another Big West foe in UC Riverside earlier in the day, jumped out front of Pacific early before building a four point lead midway through the game. Down 16-12, the Tigers strung together a 4-0 run behind the strength of their blocking, with Sanders combining with freshman Katy Tagart and fellow sophomore Megan Birch on back-to-back points to create a wall at the top of the net. Back in the game, the Tigers slowly put the Lions away as they scored five of the final seven points to capture the opening game.
Flipping the flow of game two 180 degrees from the first frame of action, the Tigers jumped out to an early six point lead against the Lions before LMU responded by clawing their way back into the contest. Litara Keil led the Lion rally as she posted six kills on just nine swings while giving her side a brief lead at 20-19 before Pacific could turn the tides of the game with a 6-2 run that handed the home team a commanding 2-0 lead. The momentum was won in the final few points of the game by a constant feeding of Sanders on the outside as she slammed down three straight kills, her only kills of the game, to turn a 20-21 deficit into a 23-21 lead.
With firm control of the match, the Tigers made what would be the final game of the night's festivities a boring affair as Pacific stormed out to an 8-1 lead and never looked back, burying the Lions in the process. In the game, the Tigers hit .333 as a team with senior Samantha Misa shaking off an inconsistent start to her night with a game-high six kills on 12 swings with just one error. Additionally, the Tigers threw up two more blocks and added 24 digs defensively while holding the Lions to just .100 hitting in the game.
Overall, Misa led all attackers in the match with 13 kills on 40 attempts. She picked up her second straight double-double of the weekend with 10 digs in the match, Outside of the duo of Misa and Sanders, Pacific got solid efforts from Birch, who finished with eight kills and two blocks and Tagart, who posted a career-best five blocks and 10 digs while earning the start. Junior Hannah Clancy posted her second-straight and seventh overall double-double of the season with 29 assists and 15 digs while junior Gabby Cowden posted four blocks, three digs and two kills, including the match's final strike.
On the other side of the net, Jasmine Rankins finished as the lone Lion to hit double digits in kills as she tallied 12 on 38 attacks. Keil, who posted six kills in game two, finished her night with seven total strikes.
Pacific will close out play at the invitational on Saturday, September 17, when they host Cal State Bakersfield at 7:00 pm in the final match of the 2011 Hilton Stockton Invitational. Prior to the match their will be two other contests including what will play out as the tournament's championship match at 5:00 pm when UC Riverside and San Jose State square off for the tournament title.