Irvine, Calif. - Hitting the road after a brief stay at home, the Pacific women's volleyball team reestablished themselves as one of the top team in the Big West as the Tigers dismantled UC Irvine, 3-0, on Friday, October 5. The win for the Tigers improved their record to 15-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big West while the Anteaters fell to 8-10 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
Set scores for the match were: 25-18, 25-15, 25-18.
Looking for their first road win of the conference season, the Tigers made short work of the Anteaters at Crawford Court, running away with all three sets to take their sixth-straight win over UC Irvine.
For Pacific, the entire night turned on big runs throughout each of the three sets as the Tigers turned game one on an early 5-0 run on the serve of sophomore Gillian Howard. Down one at 8-7, the Tigers turned the tables on the Anteaters with four straight kills, grabbing two from senior captain Gabby Cowden to bookend a pair from freshman Kat Schulz. In addition to serving the run, Howard assisted on the two kills from Schulz as the sophomore took control of the setting after senior Hannah Clancy was taken out of the play by making the initial dig.
Up one game, the Tigers took total control of the match with a dominating performance in set two as Pacific again used a big run early in the game to turn the set. Down 9-7, Pacific rolled off seven-consecutive points, again on the serve of Howard, to claim a five-point advantage. During the run, Pacific spread out its attack to four different hitters while also establishing its defensive presence at the net. In the set, the Tigers picked up a trio of blocks with junior Jennifer Sanders getting her hands on all three of Pacific's team blocks in the frame.
In the third and what would be final set of the night, the Tigers once again dominated the Anteaters defensively as Pacific put up four more blocks and held UC Irvine to just -.019 hitting. The negative hitting for the Anteaters marked the second-straight set in which the Tigers kept their opponent in the red. Just as Sanders had done the set prior, it was Howard that led the blocking efforts for Pacific in the third as the sophomore got her hands on all four blocks for Pacific. Her first block of the set keyed another early run by the Tigers as Pacific turned a two-point hole at 6-4 into a three-point cushion with a five-point run.
Overall, the Tigers' night was dominated by defense as Pacific posted nine blocks led by Howard's five and Sanders' four. Additionally, the Tigers got another stellar effort out of their freshman, Kat Schulz, along the backline as Schulz posted 20 digs to set a new three-set high for her young career. Schulz added three blocks to Pacific's efforts while also tallying a team-best nine kills on 35 swings. Not to be outdone, Sanders tied Schulz for the team lead as the junior pounded down nine kills as well with jut one error on 18 attacks (.444). Cowden finished one back of the duo as the senior totaled eight kills on .428 hitting while posting two digs and one block.
As a team, the Anteaters hit just .052 in the match as Pacific forced 26 errors on 134 attacks. Aly Squires was the lone attacker for either squad to post double-digit kills in the match as the junior posted 13 kills with 10 errors on 44 attacks. Libero Kristin Winkler posted 21 digs to lead all defensive players as the Anteaters picked up 47 digs to Pacific's 65.
The Tigers will look to keep their winning streak going on the road on Saturday, October 6, when they head to the Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. to take on the 49ers of Long Beach State. The match is scheduled for 7:00 pm.