Tigers Suffer First Loss Of 2012, Falling To No. 8 Stanford

Pacific Volleyball - Photo by: Gary Jones
Pacific Volleyball - Photo by: Gary Jones

Stanford, Calif. - Looking for their third-straight tournament championship of the 2012 season, the Pacific women's volleyball team could not get by the No. 8 ranked Stanford Cardinal as the host of the Stanford Invitational dealt the Tigers a 3-0 loss on Saturday, September 8. The loss was the Tigers' first of the season as Pacific fell to 8-1 on the year while the Cardinal improved to 6-2 overall and claimed the tournament title with a perfect 3-0 mark.

Set scores for the match were: 25-16, 25-22, 25-17.

In a match of big runs, it was the Cardinal who put together the biggest runs of the evening to put away the Tigers. In the opening set, it was a 5-0 run when the set was tied at 9-9 that put Pacific away for good and put the Cardinal ahead one set to none. In set two, the Cardinal turned a two-point Tiger lead at 17-15 into a three point advantage behind a 6-1 run. In the finale, Pacific answered an opening 4-0 run with a four-point swing of their own only to see the Cardinal essentially seal the win by rolling off six unanswered points to grab a 10-4 lead that the Tigers would not recover from.

Overall, it was a steady diet of Carly Wopat that did the Tigers in as the junior outside for Stanford posted 17 kills and just one error on 24 attacks to hit .667 against Pacific's front line. In addition, Wopat added six blocks and three digs to solidify her status as the player of the match. Attempting to answer Wopat was junior Megan Birch who posted 11 kills on 40 swings for the Tigers. However, Birch struggled to find her rhythm as the normally reliable outside was tagged for eight errors to hit just .075 in the match. In the middle, sophomore Gillian Howard posted her second-straight double-digit kill performance as she tallied 10 kills on .261 hitting while posting five blocks against the Cardinal attack. Howard assisted on five of Pacific's six total blocks on the night as the Tigers were outblocked by the Cardinal 14-to-6. 

Outside of Birch and Howard, senior setter Hannah Clancy picked up her second-consecutive double-double as she tallied 32 assists and 11 digs to go along with one kill and one block. Her counterpart, Madi Bugg, totalled 38 assists and 13 digs for the Cardinal while adding two kills and three blocks. As a team, the Cardinal hit .276 against the Tigers to become just the second team in 2012 to hit over-.200 against Pacific.

The Tigers will look to get back on track on September 14 when they travel to Milwaukee, Wis. to take part in the Marquette Invitational. Pacific will kick off the tournament with a match against Iowa at 9:00 am (PST).