Pacific women's volleyball: Tigers Let One Slip Away Against No. 23 LSU
Opening the 2010 season at the Texas A&M Invitational, the Pacific women's volleyball team let an upset bid slip away against No. 23 LSU, falling 3-1 on Friday, August 27. Pacific fell to 0-1 on the year while LSU improved to 1-0.
Game scores for the match were: 20-25, 25-22, 25-19, 26-24.
Pacific took the opening game of its tournament match against LSU before dropping the final three games. In the first game, the Tigers used a strong defensive presence away from the net to take away LSU's size advantage. With every attack, the Tigers were in position to keep the point alive and in turn score off transition. Pacific broke open the game early against LSU by turning a 3-3 tie into a 12-4 advantage with a 9-1 run, spurred by a pair of kills from junior Rebekah Torres (Wahiawa, Hawaii) and an array of mistakes by LSU. From that point forward, LSU would not climb within four points of Pacific as the Tigers closed out the game on a kill by junior Samantha Misa (St. George, Utah). In the game, neither team was able to establish a consistent offensive attack as LSU kept the Tigers off guard with its blocking while Pacific kept LSU off guard with its ground defense.
Up one game, the Tigers looked to take a commanding two game to none lead in the second game, but were unable to put away LSU in the end. Down for much of the game in a close contest, Pacific took its first lead of the game late turning around a four points disadvantage at 17-13 into a two point advantage at 20-18 behind the service game of Torres. However, LSU was able to right its ship and claw its way back into the game and the match using a 7-2 run to close out the win and knot the match at one game a piece. LSU took control of the game in the middle of the court where Desiree Elliot put away two of her six kills in the set in the final three points to take home the win.
In game three, LSU used the momentum from the comeback in game two to propel its way to a comfortable win, defeating the Tigers by six points, the largest margin of victory for either team in the match. Despite an early four point lead, the Tigers could not overcome a stretch in the middle of the contest that saw LSU put together a 17-6 scoring run including pushing a 19-16 lead into a 23-16 lead. Angela Bensend led the way during the run with a pair of kills, two of her game high nine kills. On the other side of the net, freshman Siga Appelgate (Las Vegas, Nev.) made her mark on the contest as she put together a nearly perfect game on the outside, tallying six kills and no errors on 13 swings in her first extended time playing on the outside for Pacific.
Staring the match loss in the face heading into game four, the Tigers came out on fire, storming out to a 6-0 lead to start the game and force an early timeout by LSU. Again, it was Torres' serve that spurred the run wile senior Svenja Engelhardt(Sinsheim, Germany) began to find her offensive rhythm from the outside with two of her team high 16 kills during the opening run. Just as they had done prior, LSU did not go quietly as the team came out of the timeout with a 7-1 run of its own to tie the game at 7-7. Back in a dogfight, the two teams traded points throughout much of the game until Pacific finally broke open the contest for a second time jumping out to a five point lead at 18-13. Leading 23-18, and just two points away from forcing a fifth and decisive game, the Tigers could not put the finishing touches on their opponent as LSU put together an 8-1 run to close out the game and with it the match. Just as the match started in game one, LSU used its height advantage at the net on defense to close out the match as a pair of blocks stymied Pacific's attempts to close out the contest while Michele Williams finished the comeback with a kill from the middle of the court.
Overall, Engelhardt was the lone Tiger to reach double-figures in kills with her team-high 16 kills. However, Engelhardt also tallied 14 errors as she hit .038 for the match. Behind Engelhardt, Appelgate posted seven kills on 27 swings while three other Tigers tallied five kills. As a team, Pacific hit just .078 while LSU posted a .180 hitting percentage. Sophomore Hannah Clancy (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) tallied a double-double in her first match as a Tiger as she posted 31 assists and 11 digs. Taking over the libero position in game three, Torres posted a career-high 26 digs.
For LSU, Bensend led all attackers with 18 kills. Williams finished with 13 kills and led the way defensively as she posted eight blocks. As a team, LSU had 13 team blocks and also totaled 73 digs.
The Tigers will be back in action later today as they take on Texas A&M at 4:00 pm PST in the third game of the Texas A&M Invitational.