Pacific Women's Volleyball: Big Turnaround Nets Pacific A 3-1 Win Midweek Against Sacramento State
Led by senior Svenja Engelhardt's 25 kills, the Pacific women's volleyball team put together a big turnaround midmatch to take home a 3-1 victory over Sacramento State on Tuesday, November 2. The win guaranteed the Tigers a winning record under first year head coach Greg Gibbons as Pacific moved to 16-8 on the year. The Hornets fell to 12-14 with the loss.
Game scores for the match were: 25-27, 25-21, 25-8, 26-24.
The first set proved to be a battle as the Tigers and the Hornets fought through 11 tie scores, needing extra points to finish the set. Engeldhardt proved to be the theme for the first set as she powered two strong kills in the opening serves to give Pacific the early lead. Engelhardt's eight kills in the first set pushed her to the 400 kills line on the season, the first time in her career the senior has hit that plateau. Sacramento State tied the score on a couple of missed balls by Pacific, but an excellent save by junior Samantha Misa allowed the Tigers to regain the lead. Misa sprinted past the Pacific bench to save the ball from being a Horent point and brought energy to the Tiger squad. After a Hornets time out, two Misa kills kept the Pacific rally going giving the Tigers an 18-13 lead and forcing the second Sacramento State time out of the set. The time out proved to be all the Hornets needed to regroup as Sacramento State came out of the time out with a vengeance as Pacific dropped four out of the next five points.
After a Pacific time out, Sacramento State refused to slow down, tying the score at 19-19 before taking a one-point lead. Things began to unravel for Pacific following their second time out as Sacramento State continued its rally, bringing the score to 22-19 before freshman Jennifer Sanders delivered a potent kill, giving Pacific some life. Kills by Engelhardt and sophomore Hannah Clancy brought the score to within one before a serve by junior Rebekah Torres tied the set at 23-23. Over the course of the next four serves, the score was tied all four times before the Hornets took a 26-25 lead on a Pacific serving error. A missed block by Pacific gave Sacramento State the edge as the Hornets took the first set 27-25.
While the Hornets opened up the scoring in the second set, kills by Engelhardt and Sanders put Pacific ahead 2-1. After trading points, a few missed opportunities put Pacific down 12-10. Passing woes by Pacific put the Tigers into a hole as they fell even further behind at 15-11. Later, after a Tiger timeout, Pacific refocused as the Tigers broke off a 4-0 run to bring the Tigers back to within one at 17-16. Sanders tied the score following a Sacramento State time out and became the catalyst for Pacific's comeback victory. After reenergizing the team, Sanders put Pacific ahead 19-17 before the Hornets took their final break of the second set. Sacramento State's time out was to no avail, however, as kills by Clancy and Sanders helped put the Tigers in front 24-20. Engelhardt sealed the deal with the final kill of the set to give Pacific the 25-21 win.
The third set of the match emerged as the most dominant performance of the night for Pacific. Clancy opened up the scoring for the Tigers, but the tally kept going back and forth between the Tigers and the Hornets in the opening minutes of the set. Subsequent to a couple missed balls by Sacramento State, the Tigers took an 11-7 lead off of a commanding Engelhardt kill. The driving force of the set, however, was Pacific's stellar defense. After a Cowden block brought the score to 12-8, the Tigers never looked back. Four more blocks by Cowden after a Clancy ace ignited the Tigers as Pacific took over complete dominance at the net. The defending corps shone as Cowden led the Tigers with seven blocks in the set alone, tying a career high. In one of the of the most dominating performance of the season and in program history, the Tigers rolled off 14 straight points to end the contest as Pacific blew out the Hornets 25-8 in the third game of the match. The 17-point margin tied for the second largest single-game margin of victory in the history of the program, equaling Pacific's 25-8 romp over UC Irvine earlier this season.
Pacific started off the fourth game with a point off of a Sacramento State attack error. Engelhardt capitalized, scoring two of Pacific's first five points and giving the Tigers a 5-4 lead. The score kept going back and forth between the teams, with Pacific scoring every time the Hornets put up a point. Kills by Sanders, Engelhardt and a Misa propelled a 6-4 run by the Tigers midway through the game, leaving the score at 18-15. Sacramento State fought their way back as they did in game one, making the set score 19-18 before a Pacific attack error tied the game at 19-19. A Hornets' service error gave the lead back to the Black and Orange and a 5-2 run brought Pacific to match point. After a Sacramento State time out, Pacific struggled to finish off the Hornets as the opposition rallied back to tie the set at 24-24. For the second time in the match, the teams would need extra points to seal a victory. Despite missing on their first attempt to finish the match the Tigers would not let their second try slip away as back-to-back kills by Cowden gave Pacific the finish it was looking for with a final score of 26-24.
Pacific completed the night hitting .301 as they posted and impressive 63 kills and 20 errors on 143 attacks. Overall, Cowden finished the night with a career-high eight blocks and while also tallying seven kills. Engelhardt and Sanders reached double-figures in kills, with 25 and 13, a career-high for Sanders, respectively. Engelhardt's 25 kills was three short of her career-high, but did mark her largest hitting output in a four-game match for her career. In addition, Engelhardt added 11 digs in the match to post her sixth double-double in her last eight matches. Clancy completed her team-high 11th double-double in the match as she tallied 40 assists and 14 digs. Overall, four Tigers posted digs in double figures, with Torres leading the pack with 17.
The Hornets ended the match hitting .168 with 44 kills and 20 errors on 143 attacks. Junior Eryn Kirby led the team with 14 kills, followed by sophomore Janelle Currey, who had 12. Junior Breanne Menees posted 18 digs in four sets and junior Kelsey Elston led the squad with three blocked shots.
Pacific will be back in action on Friday, November 5, as the team takes on the 49ers of Long Beach State. Game time is 7:00 PM at the Spanos Center. The Tigers will be hosting Veteran Appreciation Night for the match a night in which all military veterans receive free admission to the night's festivities.