Tigers Rout Northern Illinois En Route To The 2012 Bankers Classic Title

2012 Bankers Classic Champions - Photo By: Gary Jones
2012 Bankers Classic Champions - Photo By: Gary Jones
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Stockton, Calif. – For the third time in as many seasons the Pacific women's volleyball team took home the Community Bankers Classic title sweeping the competition throughout the weekend. The Tigers' final victim came in the form of the Northern Illinois Huskies who Pacific dominated en route to a 3-0 win on Saturday, September 1. With the win the Tigers won their second straight tournament of the year and improved to 6-0 on the season while the Huskies finished the tournament at 1-2 and 3-4 on the year. 

All six matches at the 2012 tournament finished in 3-0 sweeps. The six sweeps in 2012 marks the first time the tournament has seen all 3-0 sweeps since the 1999 season while the scoring was still to 15 and side-out scoring and the tournament featured just four matches. It is just the fourth time ever in the 34 years. The four years were: 2012, 1999, 1992, 1986.

Set scores for the match were: 25-15, 25-8, 25-21.

With a chance to secure the tournament title with just one set win in their match against the Huskies, the Tigers buried Northern Illinois right out of the gate, scoring the first five points of the set to take control. From there, the Huskies would climb no closer than four points in the frame as Pacific ran away with the opening set to set the stage for what was to come. Leading the way in the set was Pacific's trio of big hitters as juniors Megan Birch and Jennifer Sanders combined with freshman Kat Schulz to score 13 of the Tigers' 14 kills.

Changing sides of the court did not change the formula for the Tigers in set two as once again, the Tigers roared out to a 5-0 lead to force an early timeout by the Huskies. However, the Tigers would outdo themselves in the set as Pacific rolled off the first seven points before finally giving away the first point of the frame to the Huskies. That quick start led the Tigers to one of their largest single-set victories in the history of the program as they dropped the Huskies by 16 points. The set victory was one point off the Tigers' 25-point record established two seasons ago against UC Irvine on October 1, 2010. In the set the Tigers hit .387 as they put down 12 kills on 31 swings with no errors.

In set three, the Huskies would finally score the first point of the set and hold close with the Tigers through the first half of the set only to see Pacific pull away late in the frame. The Huskies were able to fight off three match points before the Tigers finally put the match away on a touch kill by Schulz on the rightside.

Overall, Schulz finished with her second straight double-double as the freshman lefty threw down 10 kills while tallying 12 digs. Continuing her solid play throughout the tournament was Sanders who finished with a match-best 13 kills. The junior hit .462 as she committed just one error in 26 swings. She also added a team-best four blocks to round out her night. Defensively, senior Koala Matsuoka led all backrow players with a match-high 20 digs. Freshman Maddy Call tallied 10 digs to post three-consecutive double-digit dig efforts at the tournament.

At the conclusion of the tournament the Tigers saw three placed on the all-tournament team including the tournament MVP in Schulz. Joining the freshman on the all-tournament team were Sanders and Birch, who finished her night with seven kills and two blocks. The second place Vikings of Portland State put two on the all-tournament team in Megan Ellis and Jaklyn Wheeler. Northern Illinois and Nevada each got one as Sarah Angelos represented the Huskies while Tessa Lea'ea represented the Wolf Pack.

The Tigers will be back on the court on Friday, September 7 when they begin play at the Stanford Invitational. Pacific will face Illinois-Chicago in the tournament opener as the two will face off at 4:30 pm at Maples Pavilion.