Sweet Start For Pacific With A Sweep Of The Anteaters
Irvine, Calif. - The Pacific volleyball team got off to a hot start to the second half of conference play as they swept UC Irvine on the road, 3-0, on Saturday, October 22, in their lone match of the week. The win moved the Tigers to 5-4 in the Big West and 14-8 overall ensuring them a tie for third at weeks end. For the Anteaters, the loss dropped their record to 8-12 overall and 3-6 in the Big West as they split their weekend action with the teams from Northern California.
Game scores for the match were: 25-14, 25-18, 25-23.
Showing three different looks throughout the night, the Tigers found a way to come away with a convincing three-game sweep of the Anteaters on the road in Irvine.
In game one, the Tigers showed a dominant offense that buried UC Irvine before the Anteaters could find their footing in the match. Committing just one hitting error in the opening frame, Pacific tagged the Anteaters for a .484 hitting percentage (16 kills, 31 attempts) to set a new season single-game high on the offensive side of the net. Senior Samantha Misa came out on fire in the game, hammering UC Irvine's backline defense for seven kills on 15 swings while junior Gabby Cowden posted four kills in just five attempts including tallying three kills in the Tigers' final six points of the game.
With game one in hand, the Tigers showed their second look of the night, a look which featured a mid-game run to pull away from the Anteaters to win the second game going away. Up just by just one point at 12-11, the Tigers rolled off five straight points, headlined by the play of their sophomore Jennifer Sanders, to take control of the game and the match. During the run, Sanders picked up a pair of kills and teamed with Misa for one of her three blocks on the night.
Needing just one game for the sweep, the Tigers showed their final look of the night, that of perseverance and determination as Pacific fought off a late three-point lead by the Anteaters to earn the win. Up 17-15 late in game three, Pacific saw its lead and momentum vanish behind a five-point rally by UC Irvine. Not letting the game slip away, the Tigers set about its comeback before finishing off the Anteaters with three-straight kills from three different attackers (Misa, Sanders and sophomore Megan Birch).
Overall, Misa posted a match-high 13 kills on 37 attacks while picking up her fourth-consecutive double-double after adding 11 digs. Right behind her senior outside hitter, Sanders was the lone other attack to reach double figures in kills as she posted 10 kills on 16 attacks with just one error to hit .562. Together, the duo tallied a trio of blocks together as Pacific posted seven team blocks.
Additionally, Pacific saw Birch nearly hit double digits in kills as she added nine kills on the night while Cowden posted eight on 15 attacks while tallying five digs and three blocks. Junior Hannah Clancy just missed her third straight double-double as she finished the night with 40 assists and eight digs while freshman Katy Tagart led Pacific's defensive efforts with 14 digs. Senior Rebekah Torres, despite playing just three rotations, finished her night with 10 digs and one kills from the back row.
The Anteaters were led by Aly Squires and Shaina Olsen who each posted nine kills in the match. Kristin Winkler, UC Irvine's starting libero, led all defenders with a match-high 22 digs, nearly half of the Anteaters' digs for the match.
With the victory the Tigers took the season series in a sweep for the second straight year. Earlier in the year Pacific defeated the Anteaters in five at the Spanos Center to end the month of September. In addition, in game on of the night, Clancy became just the ninth Tiger in Pacific's storied history to reach 2,000 career assists as the junior finished her evening with 2,039 assists.
Pacific will head back home to take on Cal Poly on Friday, October 27 at the Alex G. Spanos Center. The match is scheduled for 7:00 pm.