Moscow, Idaho - Playing the first of two matches on the day at the Idaho Nike Invitational the Pacific women's volleyball team kept its hot streak going as the Tigers cruised to a 3-0 win over Washington State on Saturday, August 25. The win was the second of the season and the tournament for the Tigers as they moved to 2-0 on the young year while the Cougars fell for the first time to drop to 1-1.
Set scores for the match were: 25-21, 25-14, 25-16.
Picking up where they left off from the night before when they won the final three sets of a five-set thriller, the Tigers ran away with their morning match of the tournament with three-straight set wins against the Cougars. For the Tigers, the first set was the only set to be in doubt as the Cougars rallied late to put a scare into Pacific before succumbing to a 5-1 rally to end the frame. Tied at 20-20 after a 4-0 run by Washington State, the Tigers ended the Cougars' hopes for a complete comeback with back-to-back points as junior outside Megan Birch slammed down a kill to break the tie before sophomore middle Gillian Howard and freshman opposite Kat Schulz combined to stymie a Cougar attack with their first block of the match. The two points flipped the momentum back onto the Tigers' side and changed the match into a rout.
With set one in their pocket, the Tigers buried the Cougars in the second set with a dominating defensive effort. Forcing Washington State into 10 errors, the Tigers held the Cougars to negative hitting at -.068. Leading the way at the net was Howard and Schulz once again as the young Tigers combined for three of Pacific's five blocks in the set. Offensively, the Tigers spread the ball around as all five attackers recorded kills with none recording more than three.
Set up for the sweep out of the break, Pacific did not disappoint as it stormed out to an 11-6 advantage and never let up. Junior middle Jennifer Sanders led the way in the attack as she posted four kills in the set on just six swings while Birch, Schulz and senior captain Gabby Cowden each tallied three. Quietly, Cowden put together a solid afternoon as the converted outside tallied nine kills and nine digs to just miss her first career double-double.
Alongside of Cowden, Sanders and Schulz each recorded nine kills as Sanders hit a match-high .333 for the Tigers. For Schulz, the freshman was strong on both sides of the net as she finished her second collegiate game with five total blocks to tie Howard for the match lead. Setting things up for the Tigers was senior Hannah Clancy who finished the match with her 34th career double-double as she posted 28 assists and a match-best 16 digs. The Tigers' trio of defensive specialists combined for 26 digs as senior libero Koala Matsuoka and freshman Mia Feiner each had nine while freshman Maddy Call posted eight.
Leading the way for the Cougars was Jaicee Harris with 11 kills and nine digs. However, the standout outside had a rough morning as she also posted 10 errors on 56 attempts to hit just .018.
Pacific will be back in action later in the afternoon as the Tigers look to close out the tournament championship with a victory against Montana. The match is scheduled for 4:30 pm.