Five-Set Magic Continues As Pacific Upsets Marquette

Pacific Volleyball - Photo by: Gary Jones
Pacific Volleyball - Photo by: Gary Jones
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Milwaukee, Wis. - Continuing their stellar play when their backs hit the wall, the Pacific women's volleyball team persevered to take down the host Golden Eagles of Marquette, 3-2, on Friday, September 14. The win for the Tigers moved their record to 10-1 on the season while the Golden Eagles fell to 7-3. Additionally, Pacific put itself in the driver's seat for its third tournament title of the year as the Tigers moved to 2-0 at the 2012 Marquette Invitational.

Set scores for the match were 23-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 15-9.

For the fourth time in 2012, the Tigers found a way to win when they were forced into a fifth and decisive set as Pacific came-from-behind to take down a Marquette team perched just outside of the nation's top-25. As they have done all season long in the fifth set, the Tigers jumped out to a fast start against the Golden Eagles as Pacific rallied to an 8-3 lead at the change of sides. As they had done throughout the match, Pacific's big run came via the block as sophomore Gillian Howard posted a pair just before the turn to get the Tigers' on top where they would stay for the match victory.

Prior to the fifth set, the Tigers were forced to rally twice as the two teams traded the first four sets of the match. Opening the evening, Marquette came out on top in set one as the two teams battled back-and-forth looking for the upper hand. The Golden Eagles were able to take the opener over the Tigers depsite Pacific outhitting Marquette, .310-to-.308 as Lindsey Gosh matched junior Megan Birch kill-for-kill as the two outsides posted six kills a piece in the frame.

Down one, the Tigers posted their first rally of the evening as Pacific cruised out to a big early lead that would cushion a run made by the Golden Eagles midway through the set. Down 19-17 late in the set, Pacific mounted a five-point run to turn the set and the match around. Setting the stage for later, it was Pacific's block that got the Tigers back into the match as Pacific posted three blocks in four points with their junior Jennifer Sanders finding her way into the middle of all three. Additionally, Birch outdid herself on the offensive end from set one as she pounded Marquette for eight more kills on 13 swings.

After evening the match at one, the Tigers fell victim to a rejuvinated Marquette side out of the extended break as Pacific fell behind big at 15-8 and never could fully recover. The Tigers would close to within one three times late in the set, but each time saw Marquette respond to hold Pacific's comeback bid at bay to capture the set.

Back behind the Golden Eagles, the Tigers rallied to force the fifth set with a win in set four as Pacific used a 6-1 run to flip a 19-19 set into a five-point set victory. Once again, the Tigers saw their block pick up late in the set as Howard, along with senior Hannah Clancy, combined on a pair to stymie the Golden Eagle attack. In addition to their block, the Tigers saw their freshman, Kat Schulz, pick up the load on offense as the first-year lefty tallied five kills on just eight swings.

For the match, the Tigers were led by Birch as the junior posted a career-best 23 kills on 60 swings. Schulz added 14 kills on 40 attacks while also tallying 13 digs to post her fifth double-double on the year and second consecutive of the weekend. In the middle, Howard posted 11 kills on .455 hitting while tying her career-highs for digs (6) and blocks (9). Clancy ended her evening with her ninth double-double on the year as the senior posted 52 assists and 11 digs along with three kills and four blocks.

Leading the way for the Golden Eagles was Danielle Carlson who posted 13 kills on .355 hitting while adding eight blocks. Lindsey Gosh finished her night with 12 kills while Erin Lehman and Holly Mertens each posted 10.

Both teams totalled 16.0 blocks for the night while Pacific outhit Marquette, .223-to-.153.

Pacific will look to finish out a perfect weekend on Saturday, September 15, when the Tigers take on UW-Milwaukee at 9:00 am (PST).